Sports Letter: Chance to stub out cigarettes

Sir: I hope your article (20 January) about the Williams-Renault F1 motor racing team will persuade the Government to support the Private Member's Bill to ban tobacco advertising and promotion, as well as the proposed European Directive.

The article featured a picture of Ayrton Senna and his team-mate Damon Hill on the Estoril circuit in Portugal, its dominant element being the 'Rothmans' name on the cars' tail spoilers. Your correspondent commented: 'Events of the past 48 hours have been geared for the benefit of Rothmans, Williams' new title sponsor, to wheel its PR machine into motion, the on-track activity reduced to no more than demonstration runs to show off the blue-and-white livery.'

Rothmans are paying big money in the hope that Ayrton Senna will lead and win most grands prix this summer, giving them hundreds of millions of dollars worth of prime TV time across the globe.

Let the Government really get back to basics about morality and ban the transmission on UK-based beamed TV of tobacco-backed sport: ban all tobacco sponsorship, promotion and advertising in the UK and seek to achieve the same in Europe.

Yours faithfully,


Hebden Bridge

21 January