Fear of cigarette withdrawal symptoms

Sports politics
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The Independent Online
Sports politics

Sports bodies in this country reacted swiftly to yesterday's Queen's Speech which made clear the Government wants an end to cigarette advertising.

The Sports Minister, Tony Banks, said: "We are totally opposed to advertising of tobacco products. We would like to detach sport from tobacco sponsorship. I've never believed sport and smoking go together."

Richard Little, corporate affairs manager of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said: "The problem is we do not know what the legislation is going to involve. It may not prevent sponsors putting money into the sport. Benson and Hedges have been a tremendous sponsor over more than 20 years but if legislation dictates that B&H are unable to sponsor cricket any more we will have no option but to find somebody else."

Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of the Rugby Football League and the Sports Council, said: "We want to see whether existing contracts will be allowed to be completed. This will have a major effect and we hope the Government might consider some kind of safety net support for sports who lose sponsorship."

A spokesman for the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, whose two main events are tobacco sponsored, said: "Tobacco sponsorship in sport does not encourage people to smoke. We feel it encourages existing smokers to change brands."