Motor racing chiefs sent fresh evidence on adverts

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The Independent Online
FORMULA ONE motor racing chiefs are studying evidence from the Government aimed at persuading them to ban tobacco sponsorship in their sport.

The Department of Health has sent evidence to the sport's governing body, the FIA, indicating a link between advertising and smoking. The move follows the offer by Max Mosley, FIA president, to bring in a ban if a link could be proved.

A voluntary ban on the pounds 200m sponsorship and advertising on Formula One cars could be in place by 2002 - well ahead of the October 2006 deadline set by the European Union for a halt to tobacco sponsorship.

Health officials have compiled a dossier reviewing research from around the world into tobacco advertising and smoking. It includes a report compiled by Professor Clive Smee, chief economic adviser to the Department of Health, in 1992, which said advertising bans in other countries were followed by a fall in smoking which could not reasonably be attributed to other factors.

The package also includes a response from the Royal Society - not previously seen - which said that the broad conclusion that there was a 5 to 10 per cent drop in the four countries studied seemed reasonable.

Other documents were from the International Union Against Cancer, Norway's National Council on Tobacco and Health, plus Action on Smoking and Health. It was understood that health officials now hope that the FIA will make good its offer, which would be welcome to the Government.