Big Tobacco & Sports:
"Foul Play" Around the World

March 2002

From brandnames and logos to sponsorships and advertising - sports are a big sell for the tobacco industry. This extensive list of examples from around the world proves that hardly a sport is immune from the tobacco industry, not even fishing! Football/soccer, golf, hockey, rodeo, darts, bicycle racing, rugby, snooker, horse racing, basketball, car racing, table tennis, cricket, American football (in the Philippines), you name it - the tobacco industry has it covered!

BURUNDI - Nestor Bikorimana, Association Burundaise des Consommateurs
This is the outside of a pack of "Supermatch" cigarettes, which clearly shows how the tobacco industry uses sports themes in its advertising. [the logo is a young male playing football]
For more info: [email protected] (French)

CAMEROON - Alphonse Issi, Mouvement National des Consommaturs
The tobacco industry in Cameroon is a major sponsor of sports, football in particular. In Cameroon, football is the "king" of all sports. The tobacco industry targets many youth teams, e.g. children and teenagers who get involved with football in their neighborhoods (typically between the ages of 7-12). During the holidays, the tobacco industry sponsors championship games.
For more info: [email protected] (French)

CONGO, DEM REP OF - Antum Micheline, Bons Temeliers
BAT is a big sponsor here in the Congo. BAT offers our athletes and our sportsmen bicycles and t-shirts. They also give our sportsmen shirts imprinted with their product name/logo, e.g. TOBACCO CONGO or EMBASSY, with a ball. The young are highly impressioned by this and influenced to start using tobacco.
For more info: [email protected] (French)

CUBA - Nery Suárez, Escuela Nacional de Salud Publica Ministerio de Salud Publica
There are no links whatsoever between the tobacco industry and sports. In event broadcasts,
advertising of a popular brand of cigarettes was begun, but that was completely suspended and
[during the] the broadcast of the olympics didn't happen. The Grand Prix boat [?] competitions
[however] are in fact sponsored by Marlboro.
For more info: [email protected] (Spanish)

GHANA - Thomas Gyimah-Mensah, Environment and Development Association of Ghana
In my country, BAT has been sponsoring some sports by supplying T-Shirts and Boots. The most common/popular sports are football, golf and hockey. The tobacco industry is using these young players to promote their killer-products. Therefore, Anti-tobacco NGOs and the international community must join hands to halt this bad practice to help save our youngsters from lung cancer and other heart diseases.
For more info: [email protected]

MAURITIUS - Veronique Le Clezio, ViSa
The ' Public Health Act ' was amended in Maurice in 1999 to introduce a ban on any form of advertisement or sponsorship by the tobacco industry, following an anti-tobacco demonstration during the 'Matinée Cup' of horse races. These new regulations were a hard blow to BAT's indirect advertising, which relied heavily on sports sponsorship, as these old ads document: snooker, golf, badminton. According to rumours, BAT continues to sponsor small scale sports in villages and to offer sports equipment, but without much media hype. Mauritian newspapers continue to relay advertisements of Marlboro through big full page color photos of Formula 1. Until recently, the only TV channel of Mauritius, the MBC, presented a sports broadcast containing a fixed close-up of a Marlboro Ferrari.
For more info: [email protected] (French/English)

PAKISTAN - Javaid Khan, The Aga Khan University Hospital
There is a RED & WHITE (a popular cigarette brand) Snookers championship in Pakistan.
For more info: [email protected]

PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Colin Richardson, Adventist Health Ministries & ASH-PNG
In Papua New Guinea, sports are one of the three main avenues of tobacco promotion (the other
two are cultural event sponsorship and point of sale advertising). Most sports in PNG are
sponsored by the one tobacco company in PNG, BAT. In Rugby League football, there is the
Cambridge Cup. Cambridge is one of BAT's brands in PNG. A few years ago it was the Winfield Cup
(another BAT brand). Several of the regional teams are sponsored by tobacco (the Spear Rabaul
Gurias; the Cambridge Goroka Lahanis, and the Cambridge Port Moresby Vipers). (Spear is a local
BAT coarse cut long cigarette brand). A photo of the Winfield cup game in progress
        The basketball competitions are also BAT sponsored: the Kools Regional Basketball Championships being organised in different parts of the country. (Kools is another BAT brand). A Kools point of sale basketball ad
        The PNG BAT Golf Open event is an annual sporting event. In 2000, the ads on TV commenced on the 9th July 2000, only 4 days before the event, and continued for more than 2 weeks after the event! This photo was taken on TV on the 19th July 2000, 3 days after the event was closed
        Spear Central Province Country Cup (cricket event) was another BAT sponsorship.
For more info: [email protected]

PHILIPPINES - Yul Dorotheo, FCTC Alliance, Philippines
This Winston ad which features an American football scene and the slogan "Spirit of the USA," came from a Philippine Airlines in-flight magazine. American football also isn't popular in the Philippines.
For more info: [email protected]

Camelia Sports is one of the oldest cigarette brands in Senegal. Its symbol is a football.
For more info: [email protected], [email protected] (French)

SOUTH KOREA - Choi Jin Sook, Korean Action on Smoking and Health
Excerpt from: FIFA tells tobacco company to butt out (Associated Press, 2 April 2002):
"Soccer's governing body accused South Korea's state-run tobacco monopoly Tuesday of using the
World Cup to promote cigarette sales. Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corp. began selling its ``Time 2002'' cigarettes Monday. The packs show 10 images of soccer players heading, kicking or tackling." Read the full article
View the Time2002 packs go to: ALL, CLOSEUP.
For more info: r[email protected]

SRI LANKA - Tramintha, Alcohol & Drug Information Centre
Bristol was the main sponsor for football matches around 1995, in Sri Lanka. The series was
called the Bristol Cup. At the same time Bristol also organized and sponsored a cycle race. Rugby was also sponsored by Gold Leaf at one time but sponsorship of this sport has now been given to Carlsberg Beer. Gold Leaf & Formula 1 car racing.
        In Sri Lanka the tobacco industry does not play a very big role in the sports sector since a directorate made by the President in 2001 prevents sports authorities from accepting sponsorships from Tobacco companies. Although this is the case, the chairman of the Cricket Board in Sri Lanka also happens to be a Legal Advisor at Ceylon Tobacco Company(CTC). This being the case there is an increase in the sale, advertising and promoting of tobacco (especially B&H) during cricket matches. Mobile stalls are freely available and advertisements of cigarettes are easy to come by around the cricket grounds. B&H being a sponsor for cricket matches is flaunted in the souvenir without any reserve or shame.
        There is a national policy on tobacco which is as yet in the making. This policy would include a ban on tobacco industry sponsorship of sports events and a ban on selling, advertising and promoting such products on the sports field/ground. We also have heard that that certain athletes who have brought honour to our country have been offered special gifts/medals by the tobacco company.
For more info: [email protected]

UGANDA - Phillip Karugaba, TEAN
From Phillip's book "Focus on Uganda":
BAT's involvement in sports dates back to 1928. It has been involved in sponsorship of cricket, darts, table tennis and fishing. They currently sponsor a football league, Kakungulu Sportsman's Cup and an annual golf tournament in two leading golf clubs. The new market entrant Park, upon arrival in Kampala was a part sponsor of the region's top football event, the East and Central Africa Challenge Cup (CECAFA).
        BAT recently relinquished the main sponsorship of an annual sportsman's gala. This was a function organised by the Uganda Sports Press Association to crown the best sports personalities of the year. The sponsorship was dropped after pressure by anti-tobacco activists. BAT maintain that it is preposterous to link BAT's sponsorship to smoking initiation, which they attribute to peer and family influence. They maintain that their products are not intended for persons below the age of 18, and on this basis have twice refused to award prizes to event winners.
        BAT is also a large sponsor in the motor rally field. It sponsors a team called "Sportsmans" and its members are required to wear the brand colours of Sportsman". Brand names like "Sportsman", "Champion" and "Supermatch" all seek to build on the false association between sporting ability and smoking that the tobacco industry has tried to foster. Sportsman features a jockey and a horse's head while Champion depicts a man holding a trophy above his head. Supermatch takes it closer to home and shows a man dribbling a ball with the false legend "the winner's choice".
        Several sporting associations and notably the Uganda Amateur Boxing Federation, decline to accept sponsorship from BAT.
UPDATE: BAT recently annouced that it would withdraw from all sports sponsorship.
For more info: [email protected]

USA - CA - Steve Hansen, California Medical Association
Our big sponsorships locally are: an Elks Club Rodeo sponsored by spit tobacco [another example]
...and a weekly "Winston Cup" tabloid in our local Knight-Ridder newspaper which is a thinly
veiled ad for the brand with an average of ten Winston name mentions or logo pictures per page.
For more info: [email protected]

US - DC - Anna White, Essential Action
Last week I saw a chocolate NASCAR racing car, made by Palmers company (famous for chocolate
Easter bunnies), in a Rite-Aid store. Like most racing cars, this chocolate car was covered in corporate logos, including a small "Winston" logo. Winston is the main sponsor of the "Winston Cup."
For more info: [email protected]

US - OR - Jerry Gabay, Nuestra Comunidad Sana
Portland has a race with Indy-type cars each year. In 2000, it was won by the Marlboro sponsored vehicle. When our statewide newspaper decided to do a special section to introduce the race in 2001, the entire front page of that section was covered by a photo of the Marlboro car and about 6-7 men in Marlboro suits jumping up in the air. A great ad, and for free, too!
For more info: t[email protected]

And from Anne Landman's doc-alert listserve (8 March 2002) -- This Philip Morris document outlines how the company used sports as a vehicle to target Latinos/Hispanics in the U.S.:

Marlboro Hispanic Promotions - Marketing Plan (~1988)
Bates: 2048679289/9294

Marlboro's involvement within the Hispanic community started in the late 1970's with
participation in Hispanic Festivals. Over the years, Marlboro has increased the scope of its
involvement in Hispanic programs by adding amateur Hispanic baseball & soccer, mexican rodeos
and a national soccer event.

...Capitalizing on growing interest nationwide in the area of soccer, Marlboro expanded its
amateur hispanic sport sponsorships by sponsoring a major soccer event titled the Marlboro
Soccer Cup of Miami. This event extended our hispanic involvement to a national level. Due to
the program's success, a national rollout is recommended for 1988.

Straight to the source:

Essential Action
Global Partnerships for Tobacco Control

P.O. Box 19405 ~ Washington, DC 20036
Tel: +1 202-387-8030 ~ Fax: +1 202-234-5176
Email: [email protected]