Badminton-crazed fans are vibrating with the successes of the Indonesian players during the Indonesia Open in Jakarta. This event could not exist without the powerful sponsorship of a major tobacco company in a country with more than 50 million regular smokers.
There are no laws to stop tobacco companies advertising in sports, on the TV or in the cinema. There are no nationwide regulations to forbid smoking in the office, or even in restaurants or pubs. Not yet.
Times are changing and people are realizing how terrible smoking can be, and how expensive the cure for cancer is. This question might be a little academic.
In a democracy, it should be forbidden to forbid, as long as every citizen respects his neighbors. But, modern democracy must protect its citizen from themselves, communicating the dangers of smoking, alcohol or any drugs.
Back to sport, the tobacco company claim their motivation is not to attract new customers, but to help an international event to be held in Indonesia.
At worst, without their sponsorship such events would not happen. In this case, it would be easy to find out a simple solution which can reconcile spectators and tobacco companies.
It will start by banning the name of the company from any adverts, and conclude by extending this idea to any other sports. As a human-value company, I am sure that the company will consider this proposition.