AUGUST 26, 2004
The squeeze on tobacco tightens
The reliance of tobacco money in Formula 1 has reduced in recent years and will continue to reduce as the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world's first international treaty on health, moves quietly towards being ratified. The treaty has been signed by 168 countries and ratified by 29, which is just 11 short of the 40 needed for the treaty to come into force. Once 40 countries have ratified the deal, it will become law for the signatory countries 90 days later. The 11 ratifications needed could happen within a matter of weeks as the European Union and a number of countries are close to ratification.
The onus is now on the national governments to implement the FCTC, a process which will be closely monitored by the WHO, which has been the motive force behind the legislation. Although this will squeeze out tobacco sponsorship of Formula 1, it will still be several years before the tobacco companies will be forced to reconsider their positions. The FIA did try to impose a ban on all tobacco sponsorships in the sport at the end of 2006 but the federation had to back down after legal advice suggested that this could lead to problems with the European competition authorities, which had previously ruled that the FIA is not allowed to be involved in commercial aspects of the sport.
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