The European Union has warned member states that it will enforce laws outlawing tobacco advertising after reports that the Spanish government has given the green light for tobacco ads to be shown at Formula One and MotoGP races until 2008.
Countries in the EU were given a deadline of August 1, 2005 to adopt new legislation that prevents tobacco companies from advertising their products. However, Spain and Hungary are alleged to have laws with provisions exempting some motor races from the ban.
Last week, Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is alleged to have test-driven a new car sporting ads for a cigarette brand in practice sessions at the Jerez track in southern Spain.
European Commission spokesman Philip Tod says that the EU is reviewing the legislation passed in both countries to make sure it meets the standards laid down in the Tobacco Advertising Directive. “We will make sure that the EU law is upheld,” he says. “The commission will stand by its legislation and ensure it is respected.”
Tod adds that countries that have not implemented the law correctly, or which allow it to be broken, could find themselves before the European Court.
Earlier this month it emerged that the Yamaha MotoGP motorcycle racing team had signed a new deal with cigarette brand Camel (MW last week).