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F1 slammed over tobacco advertising

30 Jul 2020. Despite a supposed ban on tobacco advertising in Formula One, tobacco giants have spent an increasing amount on advertising and sponsorships over the past year, reports AFP quoting industry monitors.

In a new report, F1 industry monitor Formula Money and tobacco industry watchdog STOP point out that industry giants such as PMI and BAT have upped their advertising with an expected USD 115 million to be spent on the Ferrari and McLaren teams this year, levels not seen since 2011.

Advertising or sponsoring of cigarettes or tobacco have been opposed by the Formula 1’s ruling body the International Automobile Federation (FIA) since 2006 and the tobacco giants are now being accused of finding loopholes in the system. The tobacco companies may no longer be advertising their traditional cigarette brands but seem to be promoting their “smoke free” heated alternatives without mentioning them by name, according to AFP.

Questioned by the AFP, the FIA said it "remains firmly opposed to tobacco advertising and continues to stand by its 2003 recommendations." But added, "we are not in a position to interfere with the private commercial arrangements between the teams and their sponsors."

A spokesperson for PMI insisted that its partnership with Ferrari "does not and will not be used to advertise or promote any PMI-branded tobacco or nicotine-containing products." And went on to say that "our partnership activities respect all applicable laws."