Snooker tobacco sponsorship ban delayed

Sunday 30 May 1999
ASH/ Press releases/

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Press Release

30th May 1999

For immediate release

Action on Smoking
and Health

Snooker tobacco sponsorship ban to be delayed

Commenting on reports [1] that Embassy World Snooker would escape the tobaccosponsorship ban until 2006 (like Formula One), Director of ASH, Clive Bates said:

“The Government accepts that tobacco sponsorship increases smoking, and thatsmoking kills people, so it follows that any delays or exemptions to the ban will have ahuman cost in disease and premature death. They should just take a hard line with thesports and tobacco lobby.”

The tobacco advertising directive 98/43/EC allows a delay in implementing thesponsorship ban until 2006 for ‘events or activities organised at world level’ – in casesof exceptional need (Article 6). But ASH dismissed any claim that snooker is a worldsport. Of the eighteen events in the 1998-9 tour only two (China and Thailand) were not inUK or Ireland – and these are very early preliminaries. Only one of the top 20 players isnot from UK or Ireland (Tony Drago, Malta).

“No-one could seriously claim that snooker is a global sport – the vast majorityof the competion events and top players are UK or Irish and the World Cup is always heldat the Crucible in Sheffield.” said Bates

We think that snooker will easily find new sponsors. According the game’sgoverning body it had 376 hours of TV coverage and cumulative viewers of 385 million inthe 1996-7 season, yet it has nothing like the costs of motor racing. We just don’tbelieve that the sport will not be snapped up by non-tobacco sponsors well before2003.” said Bates.

ASH stressed that the reports were speculative and that the regulations implementingthe EU advertising ban would be open for consultation before they were finalised later inthe year.

“We are expecting the government to announce a consultation on these proposals inthe next few days. Even if the story is true, there is still chance to reverse the plan toexempt snooker, and I am sure the health lobby will pile on the pressure.”said Bates.

[1] Independent on Sunday 30 May 1999



Contact Clive Bates, ASH Director (020) 7739 5902

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