WHO is urging governments to enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship at sporting events, including when hosting or receiving broadcasts of Formula 1 and MotoGP events.
WHO also urges all sporting bodies, including Formula 1 and MotoGP, to adopt strong tobacco free policies that ensure their events are smoke-free and their activities and participants, including race teams, are not sponsored by tobacco companies.
Comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship reduce the consumption of tobacco products, including among young people. Article 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) obliges Parties to the Convention to implement a comprehensive ban (or restrictions) on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. The definitions of “tobacco advertising and promotion” and “tobacco sponsorship” are broad and cover activities with the effect or likely effect of promoting a tobacco product or tobacco use either directly or indirectly.
While other transnational tobacco companies seemingly stopped sponsoring Formula One races from 2006, Philip Morris International (PMI) has been promoting its Marlboro brand of cigarettes since 1997 as Ferrari’s title sponsor. In 2018, PMI announced the renewal of a long-term partnership with Scuderia Ferrari and launched a “Mission Winnow” initiative with a logo that is said to be similar to the Marlboro red-and-white chevron. PMI is also sponsoring team Ducati of MotoGP.
In February 2019, British American Tobacco revealed its return to Formula One by announcing a global multi-year partnership agreement with McLaren, through the “A Better Tomorrow” campaign, focused on promoting the company’s new tobacco products, which they refer as “potentially reduced risk products”.
The Formula One season runs every year from March to November, with races in 21 countries. But tobacco advertising during these races can be seen in television broadcasts that span the globe. The Secretariat of the WHO FCTC is concerned that “brand stretching” and “brand sharing” deals can result in the promotion of tobacco to over a billion viewers, including young people.
Parties to the WHO FCTC recognize in Article 13 that “a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship would reduce the consumption of tobacco products”.
Any form of tobacco advertising, promotion or sponsorship should not be permitted in any country that is a Party to the WHO FCTC, under the obligations set out in the Convention, including tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship of motor sports events.
Comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship through domestic legislation should apply to all forms of advertising as listed in the Guidelines for implementation of Article 13: Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and should cover all forms of tobacco, regardless of how the tobacco is consumed, including novel and emerging tobacco products.
In addition, decision FCTC/COP6(9) urged Parties to consider banning or restricting advertising, promotion and sponsorship of electronic nicotine delivery systems.
More recently, decision FCTC/COP8(22) reminded Parties about their commitment under the WHO FCTC – when addressing the challenges posed by novel and emerging tobacco products such as heated tobacco products and devices designed for consuming such products, actively promoted by several multinational tobacco companies – to apply the same measures regarding advertising, promotion and sponsorship of novel and emerging products as would apply to conventional smoked tobacco products.
Link to the WHO statement:
Link to the FCTC Secretariat statement:
Link to FCTC decisions mentioned above:
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