Australian State Bans News Photos of Tobacco Logos on F-1 Cars

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SYDNEY -- The state government's health department in New South Wales warned print media who publish photographs of grand prix racing cars showing tobacco company logos that they face fines of up to $30,000 for each breach of the anti-tobacco advertising laws.

TV stations, which broadcast the same images, have so far escaped warnings because they come under federal laws regulating the electronic media. But a federal health department spokesman said it fully supported the NSW action.

Although the federal government has an almost total ban on tobacco advertising, it still grants exceptions to events "deemed to be of international significance" and which would allegedly be lost to Australia if an exemption was not granted--events that includes grand prix racing and the Australian Ladies Masters Golf championship.

The NSW chief health officer, Andrew Wilson, wrote to all of the newspapers this week, pointing out that photographs of last month's Melbourne grand prix had contravened the law and said the letter "was a warning" and further offenses would be fined.

Copyright April 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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