Tobacco troubles for China?

The Chinese Grand Prix may already be facing tobacco advertising troubles before the maiden race is even run. Scheduled for September 26th next year, the first Chinese GP is subject to circuit approval, as the track is still under construction,...

The Chinese Grand Prix may already be facing tobacco advertising troubles before the maiden race is even run. Scheduled for September 26th next year, the first Chinese GP is subject to circuit approval, as the track is still under construction, but according to reports in the Chinese media, the event could be facing problems with tobacco sponsors.

Cigarette advertising is banned in China and sponsorship is only allowed by special exemption. "It is illegal if there are tobacco ads in next year's F1 event," said Yang Gonghuan, vice-president of the China Smoke and Health Organisation, "I have to say it would be a big step backward in our tobacco control, and I would not allow the franchise to organisers."

The race promoters are sure the GP will go ahead although whether it will be exempt from the advertising bans is unsure. Anti-tobacco campaigners have said they intend to oppose any exemption.

Shanghai deputy circuit manager Yu Zhifei believes a solution will be found: "Chinese people are wise enough to deal with such matters, and we are working very hard to negotiate with various departments and achieve our goal while also following international practice," he said.

President of the Chinese Motor Racing Federation Shi Tianshu doesn't think tobacco sponsors in F1 will have a big influence on viewers and the sport will have a positive effect on the country's economy.

"F1 will bring enormous ads and commercial value and improve a lot of related industry and local employment," he said. "China is a developing country, so development should be a priority."

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Series Formula 1