PRESSURED TO DITCH TOBACCO SPONSORS
Elite sports organizations have long been addicted to tobacco company sponsorships, almost since the inception of professional competition.
Baseball's National League, which would much later go on to form part of Major League Baseball, is widely considered the world's oldest sports league. Not long after its founding in 1876, player trading cards could be found in tobacco boxes.
By 1920, each team had its own tobacco sponsor.
Over time, however, the juxtaposition of elite athletes or sporting events and a product that, according to the World Health Organization, kills more than 8 million people each year was seen as illogical and most tobacco sponsorships were gradually banned across most of the world.
The 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles was the last Games to feature an official cigarette sponsor, and the partnerships between tobacco companies and sports such as tennis, football, baseball and American football that were commonplace in the first half of the 20th century eventually came to an end.
Except in one: motorsport.
According to a study published by Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP), a global anti-tobacco industry group, Formula One and its motorcycle counterpart MotoGP remain the only major global sports series to still allow tobacco brands to align with certain teams and events to target fans.