Dec 21, 2009 at 05:56 PM
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Supplier vs. Sponsor; Loophole for Cig Co's?

Does the delineation between sponsor and supplier offer a loophole for cigarette manufacturers, banned from advertising and promotion in most countries? That's what government officials in New Zealand are asking, according to the New Zealand Herald.

At issue is whether companies like Philip Morris and British American Tobacco have circumvented NZ's Smoke-Free Environments Act of 1990 by obtaining "supplier" status at music festival Rhythm and Vines, Air New Zealand Fashion Week and other high profile events.

Rhythm and Vines director Scott Witters confirmed Philip Morris Tobacco bought exclusive supply rights, but defended the supplier agreement:

He said having cigarettes onsite was part of "host responsibility" - to stop revellers driving 12km into the town centre to buy them.

"It's no different to the agreements we have with a lot of other suppliers. They pay the rights so they don't get their competitors in there but there's no advertising, no promotion."

What's your take? Do governments need to issue broader regulation to include all supplier agreements such as those mentioned above?