E-Cigarette Ads in F1 Race Raising Concerns in South Africa

Business by 2FIRSTS.ai
E-Cigarette Ads in F1 Race Raising Concerns in South Africa
F1 teams McLaren and Ferrari are promoting e-cigarette and nicotine pouch brands on their racing cars and teams.

According to a report from media outlet news24 on January 30th, the Formula 1 racing industry has refrained from displaying tobacco brand advertisements since 2006. However, it seems that major tobacco companies are now seeking a way to make a comeback to the racing scene. Both McLaren and Ferrari have equipped their teams and race cars to promote e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches targeting young people worldwide.


The new tobacco legislation in South Africa will completely ban tobacco advertisements on broadcast media. Whether this poses a threat to the broadcast of F1 races is still to be observed.


In November 2023, the McLaren F1 team unveiled its new branded race car, featuring a distinctive paint job by Saudi Arabian artist Nujood Al-Otaibi prior to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The car showcases a striking combination of deep orange and ocean blue polka dot design, displayed on both sides and the front wing. However, the most eye-catching element is the logo of e-cigarette brand Vuse.


Artists like Al-Otabi are showcasing their work through British American Tobacco's (BAT) "Lead from Change" program. They are collaborating with McLaren and "Driven by Diversity" initiative to make the motorsport more inclusive.


However, as reported by Bhekisisa, an unresolved concern is whether these designs will be used to promote BAT's products, particularly its e-cigarette brand, Vuse. While e-cigarettes are seen as non-traditional products, they still have the potential to serve as a gateway for non-smokers to start consuming tobacco.


As a member of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, South Africa committed in 2005 to enacting laws aimed at restricting tobacco advertising in order to deter smoking habits. Due to concerns that e-cigarettes may serve as a gateway to smoking, the Ministry of Finance has implemented a "sin" tax on e-cigarettes. A new bill is now proposing to regulate e-cigarette advertising in a manner similar to tobacco advertisements.


In 2021, South Africa had a total of 12.7 million tobacco users, with over 11 million of them attaining satisfaction through smoking. Smoking has resulted in an economic loss of 42 billion Rand for the country in 2016, with the cost of treating smoking-related diseases accounting for 4% of healthcare expenses. Furthermore, nearly 16,000 deaths that year were attributed to smoking.


Despite the fact that the proposed "Tobacco Products and E-Delivery Systems Control Act" has been stalled in the political sphere for five years, the current "Tobacco Products Control Act" only prohibits certain forms of marketing and does not impose restrictions on all advertising. Tobacco companies such as BAT and PMI appear to be attempting to promote their products by targeting the fan base of F1, bypassing the strict regulations on e-cigarettes.


An estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide tune in to watch Formula 1 races on television. This year, a record-breaking 24 races are expected to take place.


This article is translated from an original Chinese article available on 2firsts.cn by AI, and has been reviewed and edited by 2FIRSTS's English editorial team. The Chinese original text is the only authoritative source of information. The exclusive copyright and license rights to this article are held by 2FIRSTS Technology Co., Ltd. Any reproduction, reprinting, or redistribution of this article, either in part or in full, requires express written permission from 2FIRSTS and must include clear attribution along with a link to this content. Non-compliance may result in legal action. 2FIRSTS Technology Co., Ltd. reserves the right to pursue legal actions in case of unauthorized use or distribution.