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Latest Misinformation on Tobacco Emanates From World Motorsports Leader Max Mosley

October 31, 1997

Washington, DC - The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS has criticized highly inaccurate statements attributed to Mr. Max Mosley, President of the International Automobile Federation. Mosley, making his statements to a European journalist, asserted that increases in youth tobacco consumption in 'modern industrial countries' are a direct result of bans on tobacco advertising in such nations. Mosley made his statements in response to a proposal being considered by the European Union (EU) that would ban cigarette brand advertising and brand sponsorship of sporting events, particularly at European auto racing events. Similar concepts are being discussed in the United States as part of national tobacco control legislation. Mosley’s statements fit the pattern of misinformation and threats from certain motorsports leaders here in the United States. He asserts that in modern industrial nations where tobacco advertising bans have been implemented, '. . . the consequence of a ban is not a decrease but an increase in consumption, and it is an increase, which is noted mainly among young people.' Regarding prevalence of smoking by European youth, after bans were implemented in the 'modern industrial countries' referenced by Mr. Mosley, fresh information (released October, 1997) from the International Union Against Cancer’s European Union Liaison Office states that, 'In three out of the four described countries* smoking prevalence among young people decreased, while in one it remained stable.' In France, a cigarette advertising ban was implemented in January 1993. From 1992 to 1996, per capita sales of cigarettes declined 14 percent. During the same time period, and contrary to Mr. Mosley’s assertions, prevalence of smoking among French children aged 12 to 18 remained stable at 34 percent. In Finland, New Zealand and Norway, the declines in male youth smoking prevalence after bans were implemented in those countries were 12 percent, 2.1 percent and 15.3 percent respectively.** In the statements attributed to him, Mr. Mosley attempted to make an analogy concerning the rise of illegal drug use and the rise in youth smoking rates, implying that, since both are rising, advertising cannot be responsible for the increase in smoking among youth. In doing so, he ignores the evidence. A number of studies have established the effect of tobacco marketing on kids, including a recent one which found that kids are three times more sensitive than adults to tobacco advertising. The EU study referenced above found a similar effect. Added to the weight of this evidence is the fact that the tobacco industry spends five billion dollars per year promoting a deadly habit that is adopted by 90 percent of its users at or before age 18. Mr. Mosley’s statements as a world leader of motorsports are particularly disturbing and lacking in logic. They seem to imply that companies that promote the addiction to nicotine with billions of dollars per year be allowed to continue to do so because drug use among youth is rising without the benefit of advertising and marketing. What Mr. Mosley fails to note and what the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS seeks to remind the public, motorsport communities and the industries which support motorsports, is that far more kids use tobacco than illegal drugs. Tobacco continues to kill more Americans than drugs, alcohol, automobile accidents, murders, suicides and fires COMBINED. # # # * Norway, Finland, New Zealand and France ** Joosens, L. The effectiveness of banning advertising for tobacco products, UICC/ECL EU Liaison Office, October 1997