World Health Organization slams McLaren over tobacco sponsorship

Ferrari over the years have had a long partnership with Marlboro

Ferrari over the years have had a long partnership with Marlboro

FORMULA One team McLaren have dropped British American Tobacco logos for the season-opening grand prix in Melbourne as objections grow about the return of cigarette-firm advertising to the sport.

Comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship reduce the consumption of tobacco products, including among young people.

"But we are aligned very closely with the World Health Organization [and] Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the director general of the WHO". There is little more we can say. "We are aligned with their position".

The US tobacco Philip Morris International (PMI), a long-term partner to Ferrari, returned branding to the Italian Formula One racing team's vehicle and driver overalls last season, by introducing its "Mission Winnow" campaign.

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Like Ferrari, whose cigarette sponsor Philip Morris has had to remove its "Mission Winnow" branding for Melbourne, McLaren has also removed the "A Better Tomorrow" on-car message from its own livery this weekend.

Though FIA chief Jean Todt has claimed that the sport emphasizes with the World Health Organization and are in complete alignment with the organisation, there aren't likely to be any regulations passed by the body which disallows the teams from having tobacco companies on board as a sponsor.

However, after more than a year of speculation, late last season the Ferrari's began running Mission Winnow signage, which actually refers to Phillip Morris' "potentially reduced risk products" such as vaping.

'[The] WHO urges governments to implement their domestic laws banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in the strongest possible ways. 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. This may include issuing penalties applicable under domestic laws and taking preventative action, such as by preventing screening of events that violate domestic laws'.

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