Secretariat of the WHO FCTC urges Parties to ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in all motor sports

13 March 2019

Source: Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)

The Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) wishes to remind Parties of their obligations under Article 13 of the Convention regarding tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, in the wake of recent sponsorship deals between tobacco manufacturers and the Formula One and MotoGP teams.

While other transnational tobacco companies seemingly stopped sponsoring Formula One races from 2006, Philip Morris International (PMI) has been promoting its Marlboro brand of cigarettes since 1997 as Ferrari’s title sponsor. In 2018, PMI announced the renewal of a long-term partnership with Scuderia Ferrari and launched a “Mission Winnow” initiative with a logo that is said to be similar to the Marlboro red-and-white chevron. PMI is also sponsoring team Ducati of MotoGP.

In February 2019, British American Tobacco revealed its return to Formula One by announcing a global multi-year partnership agreement with McLaren, through the “A Better Tomorrow” campaign, focused on promoting the company’s new tobacco products, which they refer as “potentially reduced risk products”.

The Formula One season runs every year from March to November, with races in 21 countries. But tobacco advertising during these races can be seen in television broadcasts that span the globe. The Secretariat of the WHO FCTC is concerned that “brand stretching” and “brand sharing” deals can result in the promotion of tobacco to over a billion viewers, including young people [1]

Parties to the WHO FCTC recognize in Article 13 that “a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship would reduce the consumption of tobacco products”. Any form of tobacco advertising, promotion or sponsorship should not be permitted in any country that is a Party to the WHO FCTC, under the obligations set out in the Convention, including tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship of motor sports events. Comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship through domestic legislation should apply to all forms of advertising as listed in the Guidelines for implementation of Article 13: Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship [2] and should cover all forms of tobacco, regardless of how the tobacco is consumed, including novel and emerging tobacco products.

Recalling obligations that the Parties have under the Convention, the Global Strategy to Accelerate Tobacco Control: Advancing Sustainable Development through the Implementation of the WHO FCTC 2019–2025 2025 , adopted by the Eighth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO FCTC in October 2018, calls upon Parties to prioritize action to strengthen their implementation of Article 13, as one of the time-bound provisions of the Convention.[3]

In addition, decision FCTC/COP6(9) urged Parties to consider banning or restricting advertising, promotion and sponsorship of electronic nicotine delivery systems.[4] More recently, decision FCTC/COP8(22) reminded Parties about their commitment under the WHO FCTC – when addressing the challenges posed by novel and emerging tobacco products such as heated tobacco products and devices designed for consuming such products, actively promoted by several multinational tobacco companies – to apply the same measures regarding advertising, promotion and sponsorship of novel and emerging products as would apply to conventional smoked tobacco products. [5]

Before the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne kick-starts the 2019 Formula One season on 14 March, the Convention Secretariat urges Parties to implement Article 13 of the WHO FCTC and enforce their domestic laws to comprehensively ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, including tobacco industry sponsorship of motor sport races, events and teams.

We also wish to draw attention to the statement of WHO on this issue, available here .


2. As listed in the Appendix of the ” Guidelines for implementation of Article 13. Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship ” .

3. Specific objective 1.1.3.

4. Decision FCTC/COP6(9) : Electronic nicotine delivery systems1 and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems

5. Decision FCTC/COP8(22) Novel and emerging tobacco products