Davidoff and Imperial Tobacco under criticism for sponsoring

The tennis fans around the world were shocked this week when they found out that the persistent war against tobacco industry Tobacco tennis sponsoringreached tennis events and threatens with the closure of one of the best tournaments in the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) – the Basel ATP World Tour 500.
London-based Imperial Tobacco, the fourth largest tobacco company in the world found itself in the middle of a brawl with public health advocates, who insist that it should stop sponsorship of a Tennis event, held next week in Switzerland.

Anti-smoking organizations are raging about the fact that the principal sponsor of the major tennis even in Switzerland, ATP World Tour 500 tournament, held in Basel and attended by thousands spectators every year since 1970, is Swiss luxury brand Davidoff, which produces a large assortment of products from cigars to perfumes and chocolate. But it gained international fame for its world-cigarettes/davidoff, purchased by Imperial tobacco several years ago.

According to the public-health experts, tobacco advertisements and sponsorships were prohibited across the European Union back in 2005, however, as Switzerland is not an EU member-state, having Davidoff as the title sponsor of the event is not illegal.
Nevertheless, Eurosport, major European sporting broadcaster has decided to renounce from its cotract with the event to broadcast it in European countries, after French public-health organizations promised to file a lawsuit if the Davidoff Swiss Indoors Tennis Tournament is broadcasted in France. However, the event organizers found another broadcaster, a German one, to screen the event in Europe.

The event sponsorship by a company associated with a cigarette brand triggered a wave of criticism from the World Health Organization and several charities, including the ubiquitous Action on Smoking and Health, recently involved in a major controversy with electronic cigarettes. Approximately, 500 leading public health scientists signed a collective letter to Roger Federer, Swiss and World number one and the most successful tennis player in the Open Era to ignore his home event to make the organizers terminate the contract with Davidoff brand.
Federer was unavailable for comment.

UNESCO, the UN filial organization dealing with international education and culture, returned the donation, recently received from the tournament organizers and claimed it is no longer related with the event. Imperial Tobacco spokesman denied any comments on this matter.

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