Victory for health as tobacco sponsorship of major tennis tournament is axed
Persistent lobbying by tobacco control activists in Europe has brought about an end to the last high profile tobacco sponsorship of sport in Europe. Members of the Swiss tobacco control organisation OxyRomandie and ASH are today celebrating the termination of the Davidoff sponsorship of the ATP Swiss Indoor tournament in Basle, home of Roger Federer. Davidoff has been the title sponsor of the tournament for 17 years.
British-based Imperial Tobacco acquired the Davidoff cigarette brand in 2006 and since then has exploited the weak law in Switzerland which still allows events to be sponsored by tobacco companies. However, the sponsorship fell foul of international laws forbidding the broadcast of tobacco-sponsored events into other countries and the ATP has been forced to terminate the sponsorship deal.
Last year ASH wrote to the London based Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) urging the organisation to end its association with tobacco and pointing out that inclusion of the Davidoff logo on its website was in contravention of UK law. The logo was subsequently removed and now the sponsorship deal has also come to an end.
Amanda Sandford, Research Manager of the health campaigning charity ASH, said:
“The termination of the Davidoff sponsorship is a victory for health and marks the successful culmination of a hard-fought campaign. Linking smoking with sport is not only totally inappropriate but helps hook young impressionable fans into a deadly addictive habit. Now, free of this dirty money, the Swiss Indoors tournament will hopefully find an alternative sponsor that is more in keeping with the healthy goals and aspirations of the sport.”
Notes and links:
Background and full details of the campaign against Davidoff sponsorship
ASH news release 31 October 20009
Section 10 (1) of the UK Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 states:
A person who is party to a sponsorship agreement is guilty of an offence if the purpose or effect of anything done as a result of the agreement is to promote a tobacco product in the United Kingdom.
 The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is an international agreement initiated by WHO which has been ratified by 160 countries worldwide. The UK and EU are Parties to the convention. The FCTC commits Parties to a range of tobacco control measures including a ban on tobacco promotion. Article 13 states:
Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
1. Parties recognize that a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship would reduce the consumption of tobacco products.
2. Each Party shall in accordance with its constitution or constitutional principles, undertake a comprehensive ban of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
Article 13.7 states:
Parties which have a ban on certain forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and
sponsorship have the sovereign right to ban those forms of cross-border tobacco advertising,
promotion and sponsorship entering their territory and to impose equal penalties as those
applicable to domestic advertising, promotion and sponsorship originating from their territory
in accordance with their national law.