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Tobacco Sponsorship

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 24 September 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the decision was taken to exempt Formula 1 racing from the proposed ban on tobacco sponsorship of sport; what ministerial meetings took place on this subject between 16 October and 6 November; which Ministers attended these meetings; and if he will publish the minutes of these meetings. [16749]

The issue was discussed in correspondence between Ministers which was brought to a close on 3 November when my hon. Friend the Minister for Public Health wrote to the presidency. It is not the Government's practice to disclose the nature or detailed records of inter-ministerial discussions on policy matters.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department made of the (a) advantages and (b) disadvantages of exempting formula one from the ban on tobacco sponsorship. [16741]

After considering the issue of sponsorship in great depth, the Government have proposed excluding formula one from the scope of the proposed EU Directive on tobacco advertising and sponsorship which is currently being negotiated. The Government have always made it clear that it is pursuing twin objectives of reducing smoking and of safeguarding sport from any effects arising from the loss of tobacco sponsorship. The fact is that a blanket Europe-wide ban on formula one sponsorship would mean not only fewer grand prix in Europe but, perversely, more tobacco advertising on our TV screens beamed in from events from outside the European Union.