II MEASURES AGAINST SMOKING
Formula One and sponsorship
100. The advertising papers indicated to us that
sponsorship is used by the industry because of its tremendous
potential to associate aspirational images with smoking. Formula
One motor racing is the most blatant example of this so we paid
particular attention to this area. For example, research conducted
for Gallaher identified "More active sports, with potential
to create a more dynamic, exciting brand image", which include:
"Formula One, Big boat sailing, Basket ball, Ice Hockey".
The image of Formula One is then described in more detail as "international,
glamorous, challenging, fast, furious, dangerous, living life
to the full and living life on the edge". The research concluded
that Formula One can make the B&H brand more "dynamic",
"macho" and "youthful".
This once more flagrantly disregards the spirit of the voluntary
agreement. A further market research report concluded, in similar
vein, that Formula One sponsorship "makes the brand very
powerful" and lends associations with "young, fast,
racy, adult, exciting, aspirational, but attainable environments".
101. Mr Max Mosley, the President of Formula One's
governing body, the FIA, told us that the percentage of sponsorship
of Formula One teams made up by tobacco firms was diminishing.
Nevertheless he admitted that the teams received "more money
... from the tobacco industry than we could if we had to get the
same sponsorship money on the open market". In his view this
was because "the tobacco people really have nowhere else
Mr Mosley estimated that tobacco sponsorship of Formula One probably
amounted to £200-300 million per annum.
In return for this expenditure, the tobacco companies obtained
access to an annual television audience of 40 billion, "the
largest television audience in sport".
102. The advertising papers we examined indicated
that advertising companies did not really distinguish between
advertising and sponsorship. An internal CDP memorandum exulted
in the apparent value for money to Gallaher of sponsoring the
Jordan racing team:
"As I'm sure you were
aware there was excellent coverage of the new Jordan car last
night on both the Nine o'clock News and the News at Ten ... If
we assume that the coverage equated to a 60" commercial on
each station, I've estimated the equivalent advertising value
to be £185,000. When the value of additional news slots on
Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky are added in, I expect the figure
would exceed £250,000. Not bad to start off with!"
Another document prepared for Benson & Hedges
described the "natural fit" between Formula One and
"cigarette sponsorship" since Formula One was "international"
"glamorous" and involved "rich people".
In our view, such connotations blatantly subvert the attempts
of successive Governments to dissociate smoking from aspiration
and glamour. They also expose as pusillanimous the decision of
the present Government to agree to the exemption for Formula One
from the EU Directive banning advertising and sponsorship until
103. Mr Mosley argued that if the EU had banned tobacco
sponsorship of Formula One earlier than the proposed date of 2006,
the teams would have sought to hold more races outside the EU,
tobacco sponsorship of the teams would have remained in place,
and the cars would still have been broadcast to the same European
audience. This argument closely follows the Government's own defence
of its position in its reply to our First Report of the present
104. The FIA has, however, recently itself examined
the need to eliminate tobacco advertising and sponsorship from
Formula One in advance of the timetable set out by Europe. In
March 1998 Mr Mosley announced that "since discussions on
the proposed European Commission Directive on tobacco advertising
began last year, the FIA has consistently said that if, presented
with evidence of a direct link between tobacco advertising/ sponsorship
and smoking, it would act to eliminate tobacco advertising and
sponsorship from Formula One". It was further suggested that
the FIA could bring in a world-wide ban as early as 2002.
105. Even at the time of that announcement, Mr Mosley
expressed his opinion that it was "inherently unlikely"
that Formula One helped recruit smokers, a statement which we
feel casts doubts on the objectivity with which the FIA can be
expected to assess the evidence it receives.
Nevertheless, in a communiqué of 11 December 1998 the FIA
World Motor Sport Council issued a call for evidence on the subject
of whether, as a result of tobacco brand name sponsorship, a significant
number of individuals who would not otherwise have made the decision
to smoke became smokers.
Mr Mosley told us that the FIA had written to the Minister of
Health in each of the 14 countries in which Grand Prix were held,
along with other public health organizations, requesting evidence
by 1 July 1999. The response was unimpressive: of the governments,
only the UK, German, Argentine and Canadian governments actually
replied. So the FIA "quietly forgot" their deadline
and were still attempting to obtain answers from the other ten
Mr Mosley also drew attention to the apparent logical inconsistency
of the EU opposing the advertising of tobacco products whilst
simultaneously providing 998 million ecus of subsidy to European
tobacco growers under the CAP.
106. We share Mr Mosley's view that the EU's tobacco
subsidy undermines its anti-tobacco health promotion strategy,
a point we touch on elsewhere. We also regard it as unacceptable
that the majority of health ministers questioned have not had
the courtesy to reply to an invitation to contribute on a crucial
health issue put to them by a major sporting body. We recommend
that the Department of Health writes to each its counterparts
in those countries which have and have not replied, to ascertain
the nature of the replies given and the factors underlying the
failure to reply by 10 governments. We would like to be provided
with copies of this correspondence.
107. Overall we conclude that sponsorship is working
exactly like advertising. The only significant difference between
the two that the papers acknowledge, is a disturbing one: the
sales pitch in sponsorship is more hidden, enabling covert or
"subliminal" messages that can get round the defences
of their "wary" and media literate young targets. The
following extracts from a market research report prepared for
Gallaher relating to plans to sponsor night club parties and a
related brief for the same clients from M&C Saatchi make this
"At each event the level
of Silk Cut branding is intended to be subliminal, with no direct
reference to Silk Cut cigarettes. However, a strong visual clue
is given to the sponsor's identity by the night clubs (in which
the events are staged) being 'clothed' in large areas of purple
"Urban Venturers: Aged between 18-30, students/graduates
just out of university, short of money but spend all they have
on good nights out. They are very advertising literate, and consequently
very wary of big brands latching on to aspects of their lifestyle
and exploiting them. To this end Silk Cut needs to complement
the Renaissance imagery in an intriguing and stylish way."
108. We see no reason why sponsorship has been
treated more leniently than advertising in the White Paper, and
we call on the Government to remove tobacco sponsorship in general,
and that pertaining to Formula One in particular, as soon as is
legally possible. If more evidence is needed to support this move,
Formula One Management's offer, in response to an inquiry we made,
to fund independent research should be accepted and supervised
by the Tobacco Regulatory Authority which we propose below.
109. One of the reasons Formula One "fits"
tobacco sponsorship so well is the way in which the cars themselves
can, through their colouring and design, mirror the cigarette
packet design itself. Indeed, the same word, "livery",
is used to describe both. The potential benefits of this connection
to advertisers was exemplified by a recent dispute between the
FIA and BAT over the BAT sponsored British American Racing Team.
The BAR team had sought to race one car with Lucky Strike branding
and another with a different BAT brand, State Express 555. The
FIA introduced a rule to stop this happening but this was challenged
by BAT. The case went to arbitration, at considerable cost to
the FIA, and the FIA in the end won.
110. The advertising papers also confirmed that the
pack was a powerful communication tool, and this has remained
largely untouched by regulation. The CTCR in their memorandum
described the pack as "the most important additional form
of marketing communication".
A creative brief for Benson & Hedges remarked:
"Remember this campaign
has its origins in a very simple truth, the smokers of B&H
when they put their pack on the pub table, will always have it
noticed by their friends. It is their badge and all we are trying
to do is celebrate it."
A discussion document relating to "qualitative
research" for the Sovereign brand noted that:
"Cigarette packs are
still considered to be badges, albeit that the cigarettes themselves
seem to be losing a large amount of the glamour and aspiration
that used to be associated with them."
Sophisticated pack design has the power to reach
vulnerable groups such as children, and circumvent the White Paper.
The CTCR cited many examples from advertising documents drawing
attention to the creative possibilities of the pack. One market
research document recorded "reactions to alternative label
"Coloured labels tend
to be seen as younger, for kids, like sweetie labels, cheap; comparisons
made with alcopop brands (Hooch)
Rolit like a pack of condoms or a "lite"
Rolit branding looked young - like sweets, Love Hearts,
With the advertising ban apparently imminent the
advertisers applied their ingenuity to other ways of marketing
their products. A Mustoe, Merriman, Herring & Levi creative
brief for Imperial's Lambert and Butler brand suggested that the
company could: "Utilise modern printing techniques to the
full by coming up with ways to use the pack outer as an advertising
medium for Lambert and Butler. Make the L& B pack really stand
out at point of sale against the competition."
111. The advertising papers to which we have had
unique access give a clear insight into the mentality both of
the tobacco companies and the advertising agencies. They show
how advertising - which will in due course be banned - forms only
one part of the overall marketing strategy. In a post-ban environment,
the other elements of the marketing strategy will assume greater
significance but will also require greater regulation. The papers
reveal just how important the packaging is to the companies, and
how the point of sale displays will become a dominant means of
communication. The packs have also been instrumental in the synergy
between cigarette advertising and Formula One, as the cars have
mimicked the packs in terms of colours and logos. These marketing
efforts are focused on building evocative and powerful brands
which have a particular appeal to the young smoker and potential
112. We believe that the extraordinarily dangerous
nature of the product being marketed means that tobacco companies
cannot expect to operate in the same commercial environment as
most other industries. We are concerned that tobacco manufacturers
continue to think of cigarette packs as being a way either of
exploiting the aspirational nature of their products or conveying
implied health messages. Notwithstanding the potential restrictions
caused by EU single market legislation we believe that the advantages
and disadvantages of introducing generic or plain packaging for
all tobacco products should be carefully assessed by the Tobacco
Regulatory Authority we propose below (paragraph 189). Such packaging
would be of a standard colour with the brand name in a standard
type face. Beyond this, the only other permitted information would
be health warnings and consumer information about product contents.
113. Other promotional techniques, such as direct
marketing, point of sale displays, brand stretching (the branding
of non-tobacco products such as clothing with tobacco marques)
have also received less attention than advertising. We believe
that the proposed Tobacco Regulatory Authority should monitor
these activities, check compliance with current controls and propose
new ones whenever there is a danger that a particular activity
will encourage consumption. Innovative promotional efforts are
also a threat, especially on the internet, and will, we believe,
require careful monitoring.
114. Most fundamental of all, every effort needs
to be made by both the Government and the tobacco companies to
limit the appeal of tobacco brands to young and new smokers. As
a start, we believe the Government should compile and publish
information on those brands that have particular appeal amongst
children. Such data could inform the operation of the proposed
Tobacco Regulatory Authority, both in terms of its analysis of
any ongoing marketing activity and its assessment of additives.
Measures against environmental
115. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is
the only legislation which acts to restrict the impact of environmental
tobacco smoke. It requires employers to ensure, "so far as
it is reasonably practicable", the health, safety and welfare
of their employees.
In 1988 the Health and Safety Executive issued guidelines, most
recently reviewed in 1992, telling employers what they should
do to comply with health, safety and welfare law as regards passive
116. The Government's White Paper, Smoking Kills,
states that it does "not think a universal ban on smoking
in all public places is justified while we can make fast and substantial
progress in partnership with industry."
Instead, the Government has agreed a Charter with bodies representing
the hospitality trade, requiring the signatories to the Charter
to recognise "that there should be increasing facilities
for non-smokers and the availability of clean air".
Independent research funded by the industry will monitor progress
against targets. The White Paper states that "Consumers can
do a lot by simply asking for smoke-free areas to be provided
as well as by voting with their feet".
117. The White Paper also states that the Government
is "not going to ban smoking at work. But the Health and
Safety Commission is going to consult on a new Approved Code of
Practice on smoking in the workplace. This will considerably toughen
existing measures..... The Approved Code of Practice is guidance.....[Employers]
may use alternative methods....in order to comply with the law".
On 29 July 1999 the Health and Safety Commission published a consultation
document seeking views on further action to control passive smoking
at work which included an option for an Approved Code of Practice
to "clarify what steps employers should be taking to protect
their employees from the unpleasant effects of tobacco smoke,
and to protect the health of those employees who suffer from a
medical condition that could be made worse by exposure to tobacco
smoke, such as asthma".
The Department told us that that consultation was now complete,
and that if the Health and Safety Commission introduced the Code
of Practice it would have a profound effect since "most public
places are somebody's workplace".
We hope that the Code of Practice will be implemented in the House
118. The Secretary of State told us that he was not
in favour of introducing mandatory bans on smoking in public places.
He felt that it was significant that voluntary agreements in place
were with the hospitality sector, rather than the tobacco industry,
and that it was in the commercial interests of the sector to give
people the right to a smoke-free environment.
He also told us that his officials would shortly be meeting representatives
of the pubs sector to discuss definite targets for the provision
of more non-smoking areas in pubs, and that the same procedures
would then be followed with the restaurant sector.
119. We understand the reluctance of the Secretary
of State to pursue the path of legislation to secure smoke free
environments in places of leisure. Nonetheless, it would appear
that at present the consumer does not always have much choice
and is only able to vote with his or her feet if there are alternative
venues where a genuine smoke-free environment is available. When
the Consumers' Association conducted its opinion survey it found
that three quarters of its respondents were exposed to passive
smoke in either the home, their place of work or places they visited
socially and that on average these respondents were exposed to
passive smoking in two different locations. Some 60% of those
surveyed said that they were exposed to smoke in places they visited
socially, whilst 20% experienced smoke in their place of work.
120. In this context, we note the views of the National
Asthma Campaign that cigarette smoking is a "highly common
trigger" of asthma attacks and that people with asthma "have
the right to breathe air that is clean and free of other people's
As we stated earlier, we do not regard asthma attacks as merely
"annoying". We also regard as extremely serious the
body of evidence supporting associations between parental smoking
and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
121. In our view, voluntary agreement on passive
smoking cannot yet be said to be really delivering smoke-free
environments to all those who want them. The very real improvements
of recent years probably owe more to market forces than to any
action by Government. Indeed, we believe that market forces will
continue to be a significant driver for change in this area. On
balance, we accept that in the leisure sector, voluntary codes
may offer the best way forward. We would hope, however, that these
yield much more effective action on the part of the hospitality
sector than has been the case to date. In this respect, we believe
it is essential that the Government sets out a strict timetable
for the targets to measure performance cited in its White Paper.
Certainly, if the latest agreements do not significantly improve
the situation we think the Government will have to consider what
more stringent actions it could take. In respect of the workplace,
we believe that the proposed Health and Safety Commission Code
of Practice offers a good way forward.
Our greatest concerns, however, lie in the home, where babies,
infants and older children are routinely exposed to ETS through
no wish of their own.
This is also the most intractable area. All governments can do
to improve the situation is to increase public awareness of the
risks, and this is the strategy they have adopted. We believe
that even greater efforts need to be made throughout the primary
care teams to educate adults on the dangers their smoking poses
122. We also regard as ill-considered and inappropriate
the attempts of the tobacco industry to play down the risks of
passive smoking. We are not inclined to view their opinions on
the health risks of active or passive smoking as anything other
than subjective. The track record of Philip Morris in particular,
with its massively funded campaign to throw doubt on the science
underlying research into passive smoking, indicates to us just
how seriously the companies view the threat of widespread public
acceptance of the risks of passive smoking.
While the dangers of passive smoking are far less than those attaching
to active smoking they are not by any other standard trivial.
As we pointed out to Mr Clark of FOREST, if a drug caused two
or three deaths per hundred thousand it would be regarded as a
very serious matter.
Even if the mechanisms of cause and effect are not yet known,
and even if the precise magnitude of the added risk is hard to
gauge, we see no reason why the public health authorities should
not pursue the precautionary principle in respect of the potential
risks from ETS.
123. We believe that a tobacco regulatory authority
such as that we propose below in paragraph 189, with access to
high quality scientific advice, would be the appropriate body
to advise the Government on the evidence as to the health risks
of passive smoking, possible measures to reduce its impact and
even the potential benefits of innovative products which might
reduce the amount of sidestream smoke which cigarettes emit.
183 Ev., p.560. Back
Ev., p.562. Back
www.fia.com . Back
Ev., p.563. Back
Ev., pp.561-62. Back
See Government Response to the First Report of the Health
Committee, Tobacco Advertising and the Proposed EC Directive,
Cm3859, 1998, para 3. Back
QQ822, 857. Back
Ev., p.563. Back
Ev., p.559. Back
Ev., p.559. Back
Ev., p.559. Back
Ev., p.559. Back
Ev., p.559. Back
Ev., p.5. Back
Ev., p.5. Back
Smoking Kills, p.66. Back
ibid., p.69. Back
ibid., p.70. Back
ibid., p.72. Back
Ev., p.5. Back
Ev., p.504. Back
Ev., p.491. Back
Smoking Kills, pp.69-70. Back
There is also evidence that "ETS among non-smoking
pregnant women can cause a decrease in birth weight". See
International Consultation on Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)
and Child Health: Consultation Report, World Health Organisation,
1999, Executive Summary. Back
See Eliza K Ong and Stanton A Glantz, "Tobacco Industry
efforts subverting International Agency for Research on Cancer's
second-hand smoke study", The Lancet, vol. 355: 9211,
8 April 2000, pp 1253-59. Back