Britain's anti-tobacco legislation clears major hurdle

Formula 1 teams do not use tobacco branding in Britain these days but the government continues pushing ahead with its anti-smoking legislation despite the fact that most of Europe is happy to wait until the FIA-backed ban on tobacco sponsorship begins in 2006. This makes it harder for those who argue that Belgium is being excessive in its demands to ban tobacco sponsorship within its own borders with immediate effect. This is a vital issue in the future of the Belgian Grand Prix. At the moment it looks likely that the Belgian GP of 2003 will be called off unless the F1 teams agree to run without tobacco sponsorship and as teams rarely agree on anything it is unlikely to happen as the smaller teams could use the issue to claim concessions from the big teams.

The British legislation yesterday received an unopposed third reading in the House of Commons. The Bill now goes on to get Royal Assent before becoming law, possibly by the end of the year. The government has been keen to get the law out of the way after similar legislation was dropped last year because of the general election.

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