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Thailand: trying to swing it on the golf course
  1. David Simpson

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    Even in countries with the strongest tobacco control laws, tobacco companies will always explore whether they can get away with breaking or getting round them. So it was that last October Thai health workers were informed that a large group of sportsmen from Malaysia were participating in a golf tournament sponsored by Japan Tobacco's Mild Seven cigarette brand, and that in breach of Thailand's strict tobacco ad ban, a substantial amount of promotional material had been set up at the Royal Gems golf course outside Bangkok. Banners were in place at the course, in front of the lodge, in the dining area and elsewhere, all proclaiming the tournament as “All Golfers' Mild Seven Astro Masters” (Astro was another sponsor), together with the sponsors' logos.

    By the time health officials reached the course next morning, however, pieces of paper had been pasted over the banners to obliterate the name and logo of Mild Seven, the main sponsor. While unable to prosecute the organisers, the officials had the satisfaction of knowing that Japan Tobacco may have learned how serious Thailand is about enforcing its law.

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    A banner at a Bangkok golf tournament, with the name and logo of Mild Seven covered over.