Smokeless tobacco Olympics : the US tobacco company, the IOC and the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games / Mark Parascandola

Parascandola, Mark

Throughout much of the 20th century, cigarette manufacturers have sponsored sporting events and used sports figures in advertising and marketing their products. The United States Tobacco Company (UST) became a sponsor of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York, allowing the company to place the Olympic emblem on their television and print advertisements and on product packages. This paper reviews the history of UST’s 1980 Olympic sponsorship using records from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Lake Placid organising committee and internal tobacco industry documents. This episode was to be the last time a tobacco company was named an official sponsor of the Olympic Games. However, while subsequent editions of the Olympic Games have adopted policies restricting tobacco industry sponsorship, the reach of these policies is limited across any Olympic organisations. The lack of a comprehensive policy on tobacco advertising and sponsorship associated with the Olympics continues to pose a challenge to efforts to remove tobacco from the Games.

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