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European Union asks Ferrari to end sponsorship deal with Philip Morris

BRUSSELS -- The European Union's Health
Commissioner has asked Ferrari to end tobacco sponsorship of
their Formula One team, saying it undermined the goal to end
cigarette advertising at sporting events.

Most countries that host races have a ban on tobacco
sponsorship and most cigarette companies also appear to have
withdrawn from Formula One advertising, EU health chief Markos
Kyprianou said in a letter to Ferrari.

Ferrari's deal with tobacco giant Philip Morris until
2011 is the only visible exception to that, meaning cigarette
advertising could still be seen in races outside the EU that are
beamed back to Europe, he wrote.

"The resulting situation is not satisfactory as it
undermines the objectives of the EU legislation," wrote
Kyprianou.

"I am certain that finding alternative sponsorship will not
constitute a great challenge for such a successful enterprise as
Ferrari whose image would no longer be associated with a killing
habit."

Kyprianou said he would work on ensuring the sponsorship ban
was strictly followed in the EU and push for a suspension in
countries that still allow tobacco advertising or do not enforce
their bans.

He gave China, Japan, Bahrain and Monaco as examples and
said he would talk to the Chinese government in early September.

"Of course the best solution would be that Ferrari and
Philip Morris proactively decide to end the current sponsorship
agreement immediately, a gesture that would be greatly
appreciated," he wrote.