HL Deb 18 November 1997 vol 583 c72WA
Baroness Miller of Hendon

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What considerations affecting the advertising of tobacco in motor racing, particularly Formula 1, do not apply equally to snooker.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington)

The Government want to reduce the exposure of children and young people to tobacco advertising. That is why we gave a manifesto commitment to ban tobacco advertising as part of a fully-developed tobacco control strategy. We have always said that our aim is to remove tobacco advertising from sports events without damaging the events themselves. We have always said that sports like snooker will need time to find other sponsors.

Formula One, unlike other sports heavily dependent upon tobacco money, is a major sport throughout the European Union and attracts major television audiences globally. All eleven Formula One teams are based in the EU: seven in the United Kingdom. Formula One makes a major economic contribution to the British motor sport industry. The world's leading motor sports firms, with a turnover in excess of £1 billion, have chosen to be located in the UK, providing over 50,000 highly skilled well-paid jobs for the British economy.

A blanket ban on tobacco sponsorship of Formula One is likely to lead to Grand Prix races moving overseas to countries with few or no restrictions on tobacco advertising. But those events would still be televised within the EU. This would have the perverse effect of leading to more tobacco advertising on European TV screens, not less. The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile has said it will introduce voluntary reductions in tobacco advertising at events worldwide.

It is for these reasons that we believe Formula One should be treated in this way. Our approach is pragmatic, and one which we believe will achieve our strategic aims more effectively.