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F1 a victim as Bahrain stamps out smoking
1 January 1901
Despite the sport having banned such sponsorship since 2005, posters advertising tobacco products using the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix are to be pulled down as the country attempts to fall into line with increasingly popular smoking restrictions.
According to the
Gulf Daily News
, the move is part of efforts to stop cigarette and tobacco advertising at all sporting events throughout the kingdom, including all events at the Bahrain International Circuit. The ban on billboard advertising is seen as an extremely significant development.
"This is a beginning and will go a long way in our ultimate goal of getting Bahrain to be a smoke-free nation," primary care and public health assistant under-secretary Dr Mariam Al Jalahma said, adding that Bahrain was looking at several anti-smoking models worldwide as it attempted to formulate its own plan.
Dr Al Jalahma, who is also the Bahrain Anti Smoking Society chairwoman, said that the ministry and the society have been extremely encouraged with the Bahraini parliament's decision to approve new anti-smoking laws, and admitted that she was hopeful that the Shura Council would also approve the proposed measures.
Formula One implemented its own ban on tobacco sponsorship during the 2005 season, bringing it in line with European Union laws banning the advertising of related products but forcing several teams to have to source alternative funding. Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and BAR/Honda were all notable bearers of tobacco branding in the years leading up to the ban.
The FIA and Formula One had initially agreed to a complete cessation of tobacco sponsorship from 2006, only for the European Union to pull forward its deadline for a similar situation to July 2005. Many member states opposed the move, but the UK - where the majority of F1 teams had their bases - agreed to fall into line, effectively making it illegal for those teams to carry tobacco sponsorship and display logos and names anywhere in the world.
Despite the ban, most teams appear to have found alternative sources of funding, with only the smallest teams struggling to find the backing needed to compete.
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