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South Africa says "No" to tobacco

The South African government last week adopted new anti-tobacco legislation, approved in 1999 under the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act. The new law bans tobacco advertising and restricts smoking in public places and, including bars and restaurants. The law will not be enforced for the next three months while South Africans get used to the changes. The tobacco advertising ban will come into force in April.

It remains to be seen whether this will have any direct effect on the country's dreams to host a Formula 1 race but it cannot help matters. Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone flew to South Africa in August 1998 to discuss the proposed ban with the then president Nelson Mandela and a deal was agreed to take F1 to South Africa as soon as there was an opening in the calendar but since then the rand has dropped against the US dollar and the South Africans have not been able to complete the deal. As part of the arrangement Ecclestone agreed to send teams to South Africa for winter testing but to date this has been limited to just a handful of teams.

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