The European Commission has warned countries not complying with a ban on tobacco advertising to fall in line with the rules or else face the consequences.
The EC has written a letter of formal notice to three countries holding Formula One events - Italy, Spain and Hungary - warning them to put an end to the exemptions that allow tobacco advertising in motor racing or under special circumstances.
The EC also wrote to the Czech Republic, which host a MotoGP event.
Spain has a provision whereby the ban on advertising and sponsorship in motor racing events does not apply until three years after the entry into force of the Spanish law.
Italy does not apply the sponsorship ban to events that take place exclusively on Italian territory, while Hungary allows an exemption from the ban under special circumstances which relate to economically important events.
"The European Commission today demonstrated that it is maintaining its strong line on tobacco advertising, by sending 'letters of formal notice' to Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary and Spain for non-compliance with the Tobacco Advertising Directive 2003/33/EC," said the European Commission in a statement.
"The infringements relate mainly to exemptions from the sponsorship ban which these four Member States have allowed when transposing the Tobacco Advertising Directive into national law.
"The Member States have two months to reply to the letters of formal notice and must bring their legislation into conformity with the Directive. Otherwise, the Commission will continue with the next steps in the infringement procedure."
The Commission said the countries have two months to reply to the letter and to fall in line with the regulations.
Failing to do so, the Commission said it "will embark on the second stage of the infringement procedure ('reasoned opinion'), and if the non-compliance continues, it can refer the Member States to the European Court of Justice."
"The Tobacco Advertising Directive is one of the cornerstones in our fight against tobacco and I urge Member States to apply it properly," said Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection.
"Stopping the glamorisation of tobacco through advertising and sponsorship is a key aspect in reducing the number of people who smoke or start to smoke.
"Previous action taken by the Commission against other Member States in relation to this Directive demonstrates that I will not hesitate in taking steps to ensure that it is fully and properly applied."