Features - Feature
MAY 5, 2005
The history of anti-tobacco legislation
The modern problems relating to tobacco advertising date from a report by the Royal College of Physicians called "Smoking and Health" which was published in 1962. Two years later there the US Surgeon General Luther Terry followed up with an announcement that smoking causes lung cancer. The British report led to a Code of Advertising Standards in 1965 which banned TV advertising of tobacco products in Britain. The Americans instituted a similar ban in 1970 and from 1971 government health warnings had to be carried on all cigarette packets sold in the UK, the result of an agreement between the tobacco industry and the government. In 1974 sports sponsorship also began to be regulated by voluntary agreement between the Ministry of Sport, the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association and the Imported Tobacco Products Advisory Council. These restricted tobacco advertising in the UK until the mid 1990s.
By then, however, battles had begun in Europe.
The first tobacco advertising bans were, ironically, in Italy. Law No.165 of April 10 1962 banned advertising of tobacco products, stating that: "Advertising of any tobacco product, whether domestic of foreign, is forbidden". Fines for non-compliance were low and the law was largely ignored. Law No.52 in February 22 1983 raised the sanction but this had little effect. The teams carrying tobacco sponsorship would receive a visit each day from the local police. They would pay the fine and get a receipt. In 1995 the Italian Corte di Cassazione (Italy's Supreme Court) ruled that the law should be stronger but with the onset of European legislation. The real battle over tobacco advertising began in France with the Loi Veil in July 1976, which banned tobacco advertising on television, radio, billboards, and movies, though not in magazines nor at sport events.
June 1985 the European Council of Ministers approved a programme called "Europe Against Cancer". The European Commission - which initiates European Union policy - then proposed an EU-wide ban on tobacco advertising.
October 1989: The European Council issues Directive 89/552/EEC outlawed tobacco advertising across Europe.
January 1991: The French government votes for the Loi Evin, which creates a total ban on the advertising of tobacco and alcohol in France. This is much stricter than the Loi Veil.
November 1991: Italian Ministerial Decree 425 implements EC Directive 89/552/EEC in Italy, banning all television advertising of tobacco products in direct form or indirect form.
March 1992: The French government issues a decree (92-279) modifying the Loi Veil when applied concerning the TV coverage of events with tobacco advertising.
July 1992: The Comite Nationale Contre le Tabagisme, a French anti-smoking body applied to a court in Quimper seeking a ban on the transmission of tobacco images on static objects at the French GP. The court decided that the broadcaster TF1 would have to pay FF10,000 for every image shown. TF1 said it would not broadcast the race in France. After two days of negotiation the race is finally broadcast.
November 1992: The court in Quimper fines Williams FF 30m and Renault FF 5m for advertising the Camel brand in the Japanese and Australian GPs. If the fines are unpaid, the team could have its equipment seized on French soil.
December 1992: The French GP is suspended from the F1 calendar. FISA President Max Mosley tells FFSA President Jean-Marie Balestre to sort out the problem if he wants a Grand Prix. Balestre appeals to French PM Pierre Beregovoy. The Australian government votes through the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act, under which most forms of tobacco sponsorship will have been phased out by December 1995.
January 1 1993: The Loi Evin comes into force. The French government votes to create a special fund to help sports finance themselves.
November 2003: Spain's Congreso de los Diputados (the lower house) asks the government for approval of stricter measures for controlling tobacco advertising, including a ban on all direct advertising in printed media and on the radio. The government takes no action
October 1994: The People's Republic of China agrees to ban tobacco sponsorship with effect from February 1995.
August 1995: President Clinton announces that he will authorize the Food and Drug Administration to implement curbs on tobacco advertising and sales aimed at deterring smoking by youths. The rules classify nicotine as an addictive drug.
October 1995: The Italian Corte di Cassazione bans all forms of indirect tobacco advertising (Case No.10508).
January 1997: Bernie Ecclestone makes a £1m donation to the Labour Party.
February 1997: Canada decides that international sporting events shall be exempt from anti-tobacco legislation. This should guarantee that the Formula 1 and CART races in Canada can continue. It is announced that tobacco sponsorship will be allowed at the European GP despite the fact that F1 cars have not run cigarette sponsorship in Germany for many years. This marks the end of a voluntary agreement.
May 1997: Labour is elected to government in Britain. The Queen Elizabeth II's speech at the opening of the new British Parliament includes a bill to ban tobacco advertising. Advertising has previously been controlled by a voluntary agreement between the tobacco companies and the government which dates back to the mid-1980s.
April 1997: A US district court rules that the FDA does not have the authority to regulate tobacco advertising.
June 1997: The European Health Ministers meet to discuss the issue of a pan-European tobacco advertising ban. Britain's Public Health Minister Tessa Jowell confirms that the new Labour government in Britain will support plans for a European Union ban on tobacco advertising. Germany, Denmark and Greece are against the proposal.
June 1997: The deal is struck between the tobacco industry and US states to reduce cigarette sponsorship in the United States. As part of the deal the tobacco companies agree to pay $368bn over the next 25 years. The deal is later blocked by Congress.
October 1997: FIA President Max Mosley circulates a letter to European governments pointing out that the FIA is against a proposed ban even if there is a three-year grace period during which the sport will find new sponsors. Mosley and Ecclestone later meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair at Downing Street to discuss the ban. A few days later Mosley announces plans to pull F1 out of Europe. Labour Party officials decide that Grand Prix racing should be exempted from any ban and Tessa Jowell, the Public Health Minister, writes to the other European Health Ministers, proposing a pan-European ban with an exemption for Formula 1 motor racing.
November 1997: Tobacco sponsorship of F1 becomes a political issue in Britain when it is revealed that Ecclestone gave the Labour Party £1m before the election in May. The Labour Party announced that Ecclestone would get his money back on the advice of Sir Patrick Neill, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, who said that this step should be taken in order to avoid the appearance of any influence on policy. At the same time in Belgium, the government votes through a national anti-tobacco law which bans all tobacco sponsorship in Belgium from the start of 1999.
December 1997: The European Union health ministers meet in Brussels to vote on whether to ban tobacco advertising. Spain votes against the ban because of the implications of job losses from Spanish tobacco industry. This means that EU Commissioner Padraig Flynn has to compromise with Britain, Greece and Holland. Britain's request for a 10-year exclusion for F1 is rejected but after intense negotiation a compromise of eight years is agreed, with a final deadline of October 1 2006. Germany and Austria still vote against the ban. Denmark and Spain abstain. The FIA World Council makes the Belgian GP provisional for 1998 because of the new laws.
February 1998: The Court of Appeal in Liege declares itself unable to overturn the decision to ban tobacco advertising.
March 1998: FIA President Max Mosley announces that the FIA might bring in a worldwide ban on tobacco advertising in Formula 1 as early as 2002 if there is evidence that tobacco sponsorship in F1 leads to people starting smoking. The move is condemned as political intrigue.
April 1998: The anti-tobacco campaigners suffer a serious setback when two European Parliament committees in Strasbourg rule that the European Union does not have the legal right to ban tobacco advertising and sponsorship. The Legal Affairs Committee - which is made up of members of the European Parliament - voted 12 to 7 against the ban, declaring it to be illegal. Tobacco lobbyists immediately asked that the legislation be withdrawn.
May 1998: Former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland is appointed head of the World Health Organisation and promises to launch further attacks on the tobacco industry.
May 1998: The European Parliament votes in favour of legislation to ban tobacco advertising and sponsorship throughout the European Union
June 1998: Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock introduces new legislation which will result in a complete ban on tobacco sponsorship in Canada within five years. The 1997 Tobacco Act introduced all kinds of restrictions on tobacco advertising and sponsorship but these were amended to allow for a two-year period of grace, followed by three years of restrictions and then a total ban.
June 1998: The German government announces its intention to challenge the European ban, arguing that the regulations are illegal because they relate to health matters which should be decided by individual states.
September 1998: Australia announces that it will phase out all tobacco sponsorship by the year 2006. Tobacco sponsorship has been banned in Australia since 1992 but the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act permits the Minister for Health to grant an exemption to major international events if he is satisfied that the event will be lost to Australia if tobacco sponsorship is not allowed.
November 1998: A new deal is struck between the US states and the tobacco industry which allows for a "one brand sponsorship" arrangement which would that tobacco companies can sponsor only one team or series and that no new deals can be done. The South Africa National Assembly votes through the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill which bans all forms of tobacco advertising in the country.
December 1998: The FIA World Motor Sport Council approves the decision to ban all forms of tobacco sponsorship by October 1 2006 in line with the agreement reached with the European Commission. It adds that a worldwide ban could come sooner if there is convincing evidence showing that F1 sponsorship encourages people to smoke
December 1998: The Wallonia regional government votes to overrule the Belgian national anti-tobacco law. It argues that the national ban violates the region's autonomy as the national government is only allowed to dictate foreign policy, defence, legal issues and the budget.
September 1999: The F1 cars are forced to run without tobacco branding at the Belgian GP. Belgian Health Minister Magda Aelvoet threatens legal action against any team displaying tobacco logos. The tobacco companies decide to run without liveries for the weekend. The authorities in Belgium say that the maximum punishment for breaking the law would be a half million dollar fine or a year in prison.
October 1999: The Belgian court of arbitration has decided that the federal anti-tobacco law should be modified to allow for the Belgian GP to be held with the cars running with tobacco sponsorship and advertising hoardings beside the track to carry tobacco messages. The exemption will remain in effect only until July 31 2003.
November 1999: The High Court in London rules that a ban on tobacco advertising on billboards and in newspapers and magazines should not come into force before the European-wide ban which is due to take effect in July 2001. The British government had been trying to bring in the ban on December 10.
July 2000: Brazil's Health Ministry sends a draft anti-tobacco law (Bill 3156) to Congress proposing that all tobacco advertising and sponsorship be banned.
October 2000: The European Court of Justice rules in Case C-376/98 (Federal Republic of Germany vs. European Parliament and Council of the European Union) that than European ban on tobacco sponsorship is unlawful, as it was created using the wrong legal basis as it is not a measure to strengthen the European single market but rather a health issue. The FIA World Motor Sport Council announces that it will introduce a worldwide ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship in international motor sport from the end of the 2006 season, if the World Health Organisation's proposed Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has come into force by then.
December 2000: The Brazilian tobacco control bill passes through the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, and becomes law 10167 when President Fernando Henrique Cardoso signs it. The law forbids tobacco sponsorship of international sports from the start of 2003.
May 2001: The European Commission issues a new proposal for a Directive that would ban cross-border advertising and sponsorship from July 31 2005. The new proposal leaves no special deal for Formula 1.
July 2001: The re-elected Labour Government in Britain fails to re-introduce the bill to ban tobacco advertising. The Liberal Democrat Lord Clement-Jones introduces a private members bill in the House of Lords. It is identical to the original bill.
September 2001: Representatives of Philip Morris, British American Tobacco (BAR) and Japan Tobacco (Renault) meet in New York and agree on document called International Tobacco Products Marketing Standards which defines the minimum restrictions which the companies agree to place on themselves worldwide. They create a common code of advertising and sponsorship standards which included an agreement to end sports sponsorships on December 1 2006 on the understanding that the sport involved requires "above-average physical fitness for someone of the age group of those taking part".
November 2001: FIA President Max Mosley participates in the launch of the WHO's Tobacco Free Sports initiative.
January 2002: Hungary's ban on tobacco advertising comes into force. The law bans all outdoor advertising of tobacco products but allows the Marlboro-sponsored Hungarian GP to be excluded from the new law.
February 2002: European health officials issue The Warsaw Declaration for a Tobacco-Free Europe, throwing their support behind the World Health Organisation's plans to ban tobacco advertising around the world. The only country which refuses to agree is Germany.
March 2002: Lord Clement-Jones's tobacco advertising bill is approved by the House of Lords. It is referred to the House of Commons. The Labour government decides to formally back the bill.
November 2002: The UK Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 passes through parliament. Its provisions make any person who is party to a sponsorship agreement guilty of an offence if the purpose is to promote tobacco products in the UK. This means that any tobacco sponsorship by a British-based Formula 1 team is illegal because television pictures of the cars will be broadcast in the UK. This is due to come into force at the end of 2006.
November 2002: The European Parliament votes through the new anti-tobacco legislation without amendment with 311 votes in favour, 202 against and 39 abstentions. This will ban all tobacco sponsorship in EU countries from the middle of 2005.
December 2002: The European Health Ministers vote 13 to two to approve new anti-smoking legislation which will ban all tobacco sponsorship of sporting events in Europe after July 31 2005. Britain and Germany vote against the ban. The former because it wants no interference in the tobacco industry and the latter because it wants an even stronger ban. The FIA sends a letter to the European Health Commissioner David Byrne attacking the Commission's decision as being "gratuitous and irresponsible".
December 2002: The Belgian Grand Prix is taken off the F1 calendar after the F1 teams vote not to take part because of the Belgian government's attitude towards tobacco sponsorship. The teams are angered by the Belgian insistence that they introduce anti-tobacco legislation ahead of the planned European Union tobacco sponsorship ban.
February 2003: The British government alters the transitional regulations of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act to come into effect at the same time as EU Directive 2003/33/EC at the end of July 2005. The Austrian Grand Prix is dropped from the F1 calendar because of the European Union tobacco legislation. All EU races are thus under immediate threat as all have contracts which allow Bernie Ecclestone to cancel them if tobacco legislation changes.
March 2003: The Comite national contre le tabagisme in France wins a ruling in the Cour de Cassation in Paris to stop Auto-Journal magazine publishing photographs of a vehicle with tobacco sponsorship. The court ruled that this was indirect advertising of tobacco products. Since then magazines have blurred images.
April 2003: The Brazilian Health Ministry says that it may issue fines on the F1 teams and race organisers if the cars run in 2003 in tobacco liveries. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva issues a decree which allows cigarette advertising will be allowed in Brazil until July 31, 2005 in "international sporting events not based in one single country and which are organized or held by foreign institutions." The BMW WilliamsF1 team concludes a sponsorship deal with the giant GlaxoSmithKline drug company. The cars will carry branding from GSK's "smoking cessation brand" NiQuitin CQ, which includes products designed to help people stopping smoking.
May 2003: The WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is formally adopted by the World Health Assembly in Geneva. The process now moves on to the ratification phase. The treaty binds all signatories to introducing tough controls on tobacco advertising and sponsorship within five years of ratification. There is a fierce debate in the Cyprus parliament over whether tobacco sponsorship should be allowed on the Cyprus Rally in 2003 and 2004. It is agreed that only foreign teams will be allowed to run with tobacco branding but it was felt that the law was needed to guarantee the future of the World Rally Championship event in Cyprus.
June 2003: Winston terminates its longtime title sponsorship of NASCAR, saying that it is impossible to fully exploit the sponsorship. The FIA World Council altered its "ban" on tobacco sponsorships announced in October 2000, transforming it into a recommendation that promoters, circuit owners, event organisers, teams, and drivers "should cease all forms of tobacco sponsorship from October 1, 2006".
July 2003: The Belgian Senate meets to consider a modification to the anti-tobacco law of December 1997 which banned all tobacco sponsorship in Belgium from the middle of 2003. This led to the cancellation of the 2003 Belgian Grand Prix. The new proposal, put forward by Senator Jean-Marie Happart, is passed on to the Social Affairs Commission of the Senate. This is voted through by nine votes to four, with four abstentions. This means that there will be no tobacco ban in Belgium until new European legislation comes into effect on July 31 2005. In Britain all tobacco sponsorship of sport except Formula 1 is banned.
July 2003: The Canadian tobacco company Players Ltd announces that it is pulling out of motorsport sponsorship because of restrictions which come into force in Canada on October 1 2003. The anti-tobacco legislation is being challenged but as the new Tobacco Act comes into force on that date the tobacco companies have no choice but to back down.
August 2003: The Malaysian Health Ministry recently announced that it will ban all forms of tobacco advertising as well as promotions in Malaysia. This ban will be effective from January 1 2004. This ban does not apply to Formula One motor
racing. The sport is granted a temporary exemption.
August 2003: The Canadian Grand Prixis informed that it will not be on the 2004 calendar because of the Canadian government's ban on tobacco advertising. The new legislation comes into force in October 2003.
October 2003: The German government bows to pressure from the other European nations and signs the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
November 2003: The Canadian Grand Prix gets back on the F1 calendar after agreeing a deal to pay an extra $20m to become the 18th race on the F1 calendar in 2004.
February 2004: FIA President Max Mosley says that tobacco sponsorship will go on after 2006, Mosley says that the European Union's Commissioner for Health must take the blame as he took the controversial decision to switch the date of the European tobacco sponsorship ban from October 31 2006 to July 31 2005.
March 2004: The Republic of Ireland's Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Act 2004 bans tobacco advertising and sponsorship in Ireland. Several tobacco companies challenge the law.
April 2004: Mumtaz Tahincioglu, the head of Turkey's Motorsports Federation, says that the Turkish GP will not have tobacco advertising. Turkey is committed to eradicate tobacco advertising and the government will not bend to pressure from Formula 1.
May 2004: Ferrari boss Jean Todt says that Marlboro will be in Formula 1 for "many more years" yet. Marlboro has been Ferrari's title sponsor in 1997 and in 2001 announced a deal which would take the partnership until the end of 2006. It was thought that the firm would then withdraw but, according to Todt, Ferrari will "move the partnership forward as much as we can''.
July 2004: The World Health Organization's anti-tobacco treaty, known as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, closed for signature with a total of 168 signatorie. The only major countries in the world not to have signed the deal are Indonesia and Russia. The only country holding an F1 race which has failed to sign is Bahrain.
August 2004: The BMW Williams team runs with the words "tobacco free" in place of the usual NiQuitin CQ logos. This is an attempt by the GlaxoSmithKline brand to stir things up a bit and draw attention to the "smoking cessation brand".
November 2004: Austria amends its Tobacco Act to implement provisions of the EU Advertising and Sponsorship Directive and the WHO FCTC. The Act prohibits cross-border sponsorships from August 1 2005.
December 2004: The World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control receives its 40th signature which means it will become international law on February 28 2005. The treaty limits tobacco sponsorship and commits the signatories to encourage other countries to keep to the terms of the agreement.
February 2005: The World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control - the first global health treaty - becomes international law on February 28.