Yamaha is going smokeless in 2006. A few days ago, Yamaha announced they were ending their sponsorship agreement with Altadis/Seita and their Fortuna and Gauloises brands of cigarettes. Evidently there has been a dispute between the parties which, according to Altadis/Seita, has not yet been resolved and may end up in court, but Yamaha seems to have made up their mind. The Gauloises name has been a familiar sight for some time and they were sponsors of the Yamaha racing effort for the past three years. What the reasons are for the split was not mentioned in Yamaha’s press release. Was it just business or is there something else?
Remember Winston Cup? How about the Skoal Bandits in drag racing? Formula One had a lot of tobacco sponsorships, too. Heck, when’s the last time you saw Joe Camel? It’s getting harder and harder to find tobacco advertised anywhere in racing and I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. When racing is looking for sponsor dollars and tobacco companies are trying to spend in the few venues left to them, it would seem to be a natural pairing. But there’s another issue to consider.
There are no smokers here in the palatial offices of The Kneeslider, but I think smoking should be a personal choice. Many non smokers are vehement in their antagonism towards the sight or smell of smoke anywhere and make no bones about it. Smoking is classified as risky behavior, a dangerous habit to be quashed and advertising smokes anywhere becomes unacceptable. Well, if you’re a rider, this idea of stopping all kinds of risky behavior by those who know better than you how you should run your life is more than a little troublesome. It’s been asked before, once one kind of personal behavior is deemed by the annointed to be risky and then outlawed for your own good, what’s next? Just a thought.
Yamaha Racing press release
photo credit: Yamaha