AUGUST 25, 2005
Tobacco pressure increases again
Although some of the F1 teams think that they can go on with tobacco sponsorship indefinitely, the ever-closing net of anti-tobacco legislation around the world continues to tighten. This week the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, which is China's top legislature, is expected to ratify the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the global anti-smoking treaty. The 150-member body takes decisions on behalf of the 3000-strong Congress, which meets only once a year in the Great Hall of the People on Beijing's Tiananmen Square and represents China's 30 provinces, autonomous regions, directly administered cities and the military.
Tobacco advertising at sports facilities is banned in China - and has been since the passage of the 1994 Advertising Law, which states that the use of "radio, movies, television, newspaper and magazines to disseminate tobacco advertisements is banned. The setting up of tobacco advertisements in public places, including all kinds of waiting rooms, cinemas and theatres, meeting rooms and halls, sports stadia, etc, is banned."
Despite the protests of anti-tobacco campaigners, the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix went ahead last year with full tobacco liveries on the cars, the Chinese government apparently keener to get F1 than to obey its own laws.
Ratifying the FCTC means that China will be answerable to other countries over questions of tobacco.
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