MAY 12, 2004
United States signs anti-tobacco treaty
In the biggest blow yet for the tobacco industry, the United States's Health Secretary Tommy G Thompson has signed the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, giving the global anti-tobacco treaty a major boost. The signature commits the United States to stamp out tobacco sponsorship as quickly as it possibly can although the current anti-smoking deal has already done much to drive the tobacco industry out of automobile racing.
In a further blow to the tobacco industry Pakistan has decided that it will also be signing the treaty shortly. Pakistan is one of the largest countries in the world (in terms of population) not to have signed up to the deal.
Tobacco companies and racing teams may continue to argue that they will go on with sponsorships, but it is fast becoming clear that such a move is probably going to be detrimental to the image of the sport. The FIA advised all teams to aim to get tobacco out of the sport by 2006 but the federation cannot insist that there is no tobacco money.
Non-tobacco teams are already complaining that the sport's links with tobacco work against them when they try to do new deals because some companies do not want to be seen to have anything to do with an activity which allows tobacco promotion.
The WHO treaty has now been signed by 109 countries.
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