Sports sponsorship

Friday 31 May 1996
ASH/ Press releases/

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Press Release

31th May 1996

Action on Smoking
and Health

Sports sponsorship

New research among schoolchildren has foundthat around two-thirds of 11-16 year olds could identify at least one sport connected tocigarette advertising through sponsorship. The MORI research, commissioned by a group ofhealth and voluntary organisations,* revealed that half had made the link because they hadseen the tobacco sponsorship on television.

This survey provides further evidence that someteenagers believe that cigarettes are still advertised on television, despite a ban since1965. Although direct cigarette advertising is not allowed on television, sponsorship ofsporting events by tobacco companies is still permitted.

With teenage smoking rates on the increase,this research emphasises the need for a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising andsponsorship. The theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day (31 May) is tobacco-freesponsorship of sport and the arts.

Thirty-five percent of the young peoplesurveyed thought motor-racing was linked to cigarette advertising. Current smokers weremuch more likely to make the connection (41%) than non-smokers (34%). Other sportsconnected with tobacco sponsorship were also identified, darts (30%), snooker (28%) andcricket (18%).

Pamela Taylor, Chair of the tobacco controllobby group ASH said: “This survey provides further evidence of the way tobaccoadvertising is reaching young people. It is clearly a nonsense to treat advertising andsponsorship differently. Children know that when they watch motor racing or cricket ontelevision what they often see is an advertisement for a brand of cigarettes. It is timethe Government ended the charade of the voluntary agreement system and banned all forms oftobacco advertising and sponsorship.”

Commenting on the findings, Dr. Sandy Macara,Chairman of the British Medical Association’s Council, said: “The Government’sdefence of voluntary measures to control tobacco advertising and sponsorship is a sham anda disgrace. For years, the tobacco industry has been running rings around the agreementsystem and the fact that so many children can make the connection between tobaccoadvertising and sport shows how ineffective the measures are to protect children fromtobacco promotion.”

Christine Hancock, General Secretary of theRoyal College of Nursing said: “Tobacco sponsorship of televised sport gives youngpeople a false image of smoking as glamorous and life enhancing. This survey shows howpowerful such sponsorship can be and why the government should wholeheartedlysupportwithdrawing it.”


Notes for editors:

*The survey formed part of MORI’s regularSchools Omnibus survey. It was commissioned by the following organisations: ASH, BritishMedical Association, Cancer Research Campaign, Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the RoyalCollege of Nursing.

The sample of schools comprised 192 middle andsecondary state schools in England and Wales. The age groups included in the survey were11-16 year olds in curriculum years 7 to 11. Fieldwork for the study was conducted between23 January and 19 February 1996.

Tobacco sponsorship has been associated withthe following sports which are screened on television:

Motor racing – e.g. Marlboro, Rothmans
Snooker – e.g. Embassy, Benson & Hedges
Cricket – e.g. Benson & Hedges
Darts – e.g. Embassy

Contact Amanda Sandford (020) 7739 5902
Nigel Duncan, BMA
Martin Prestage, RCN
Michele Corrado/Suzy Aronstam, MORI
0171 383 6113
0171 409 2585
0171 222 0232

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