Belgium stubs out tobacco (again)

The politics of Formula 1 and tobacco is highly complicated. One of the most complex problems has been in Belgium where the Formula One group and the teams have been in almost constant conflict with the local authorities. A deal was struck last summer to modify the country's anti-tobacco laws to overcome a tobacco ban which was due to come into effect in the middle of 2003. This led to the cancellation of last year's Belgian Grand Prix. The new law declared that the tobacco ban would come into effect with the European ban on July 31 2005.

Now the Belgian government has signed the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control - becoming the 87th country to do so - committing itself to supporting a global ban on tobacco advertising in the future. This is not going to please the F1 authorities which is pulling races out of Europe and last year cancelled the Austrian GP because the local government supported the EU ban.

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