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Despite all newspaper, magazine, and billboard advertising of tobacco products having been banned in the UK since last February, several features on the British Grand Prix extolling the Jordan team, sponsored by Benson & Hedges (B&H) cigarettes, appeared in the August edition of the men’s magazine Maxim. Each double page spread of the eight page piece bore the heading, “Maxim F1 special in association with Benson & Hedges Jordan”, with a B&H logo above a panel which itself contained two more, larger B&H logos at top and bottom. Altogether, the eight pages contained 40 B&H logos. Enquiries revealed the apparent involvement of an advertising agency working on behalf of Gallaher, makers of B&H in the UK. A formal complaint was made to trading standards officers by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), contending that the placing of the articles was in breach of the ad ban, though Formula One’s exemption from the ban on tobacco sponsorship until 2005 may be cited in defence. ASH says the case illustrates how loopholes or exceptions to any ad ban will be exploited to the full, and that only a total ban, rigorously enforced, can stop tobacco promotion.
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