Tobacco makers have been barred from sponsorship nearly everywhere. What hits closest to home for us is motorsports. But why were they banned? Some notion that it'll make people healthier? Well, it's bullshit and we need them back. Now.
First, let me name all the cons that come with letting cigarette companies sponsor motorsports:
- ...ummmm. Oh, maybe some people will choose on their own to begin smoking even though they know all of the health risks?
Ok, with that out of the way, let me name some of the pros.
- Budgets: Cigarette companies make boat loads of cash. Boat loads. Their investment in motorsports led to unprecedented levels of growth and investment. I have no doubt that Formula One is on the level that it is now thanks to the investment and promotion that was afforded to the series through decades of tobacco involvement. If Gold Leaf and John Player Special never sponsored Lotus, we probably would be decades behind on aero development. Cigarettes: The carcinogen of innovation!
- Drivers: With big budgets came amazing drivers. Ever wish that we didn't need pay drivers in any series? Cigarettes are the answer. Teams would have money to hire who they pleased, not every Maldonado that comes to the door with a bucket of cash and the unique ability to crash into everything. It wouldn't eliminate pay drivers, but it sure would slow down the epidemic.
- Liveries: Holy crap. The liveries. Marlboro McLaren and Team Penske. John Player Special Team Lotus. Gitanes Ligier. Rothmans Porsche and Williams. Mild Seven Benetton. These are the liveries you remember when you think of motorsports. Now what do we have? Energy drinks and banks. Boring.
- Lifestyle: Smoking is dangerous. Racing is dangerous. If ever there was a sport that cigarettes could be related to, it's motorsports. No matter what safety advances there have been in racing, it's still an unbelievably dangerous undertaking, like smoking. But the drivers are so health conscious these days that you won't see Vettel lighting up a Virginia Slim after a race win or Button taking a drag of a West when he's passed by Kevin Magnussen. However, you will see Kimi Raikkonen constantly smoking Marlboro Reds because that's just what I imagine Kimi would do.
Of course, cigarette companies can't come back. People will say that viewers will be so influenced by the writing on the sides of cars and the advertisements that they will immediately start smoking. But how would that happen? Would the reintroduction of tobacco advertising in motorsports eliminate free will from the populace?
A cigarette sponsorship of a racing team does not immediately mean that you need to start smoking. You are still allowed to think for yourself. See, you have a brain which allows you to have independent thought. You don't need to be part of a collective that sees a cigarette sponsorship and then goes off and smokes themselves to death. Nope. You can do whatever you want!
And if you want to start smoking because you saw a Force India with Pall Mall stickers or an IndyCar with Kool on the side, then good for you.
Without tobacco advertising, we'll be stuck with series that have limited promotional capabilities and shit drivers in way too many cars. Finally, those drivers that deserve rides will be able to get there thanks to the full bodied menthol taste of Newports.