Dutch health organisations file complaint against McLaren’s F1 Velo branding

Legal loophole means nicotine advertising remains legal despite national ban on sale of nicotine pouches and non-tobacco products.

Dutch health organisations have filed a complaint against McLaren’s Velo branding ahead of the Formula One Dutch Grand Prix.

Confirmed:

  • Velo is visible on the McLaren sidepods at all but seven races
  • New Dutch legislation is a work in progress, so advertising remains legal
  • Complaint issued by a group of Dutch health organisations, including the Dutch Heart Foundation and the KWF Dutch Cancer Society
  • In Zandvoort, the Velo name will be replaced with ‘Love’ as part of a fan competition

Context:

In April, the Dutch government banned the sale of all types of nicotine pouches in the Netherlands, as well as widening the rules for tobacco to include all other types of tobacco-free products. The new law also prohibits the use of nicotine pouches and other tobacco-free nicotine products in places where smoking is not allowed. 

Comment:

As reported by Autosport, Carla van Gils, director of KWF Dutch Cancer Society, said: “It just goes to show again how the tobacco industry is doing everything in its power to keep young people addicted in order to keep this sickening and deadly business going. We find it bizarre that it is allowed to advertise a product that is banned.”

Consequence:

A McLaren statement to Autosport read ‘all branding carried on McLaren race cars fully complies with regulatory requirements and advertising standards of each country we race in’, but this is likely to become a bigger issue as research around nicotine pouches and vapes develops. Tobacco advertising was banned in Formula One in 2006, and it likely won’t be long until the tobacco-free alternatives follow suit.

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