The days of watching players chew and spit tobacco on the baseball diamond are no more. At least in San Francisco. The city is the first in the United States to ban chewing tobacco from professional venues.
For players needing to kick the habit, there’s time. The ordinance goes into effect on January 1 and specifically targets baseball. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids targeted California to push its anti-smoking agenda.
Currently, there is a bill making its way through the CA Assembly to ban all forms of tobacco at an organized baseball game. It includes e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, released a statement on the news:
“Today, San Francisco entered the history books as the first city to take tobacco out of baseball. The home of the world champion Giants has set an example that all of Major League Baseball and the rest of the country should quickly follow.”
How will city officials enforce the ban? Like similar city ordinances on tobacco, signs will be posted, and violators will be removed from the venue. Right… Are you going to remove a player from AT&T Park?
MLB and Giants’ executives will need a plan of attack to tackle the issue.
San Francisco Giants Support Measure
Players and the manager of the Giants all expressed support for the new measure. Kids look up to the players as role models, and it’s time to step up.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy chewed tobacco for decades, even resorting to a hypnotist to aid in his quest to quit. He supports the move as a step in the right direction but knows the trials facing players.
One of the biggest faces of baseball to emerge last year is on the hot seat. Madison Bumgarner, World Series MVP, chews tobacco but has attempted to quit. He says he quit for a few months prior to the spring training, but quickly picked the habit again.
Bumgarner is already promising to attack the addiction head on before the ban goes into effect.
Smokeless tobacco includes both chewing tobacco and moist snuff. Yes, it is damn gross to watch someone fill a Mountain Dew bottle with tobacco spit.
Smokeless Tobacco Risks
Use of the products increases your risk of gum disease, a variety of cancers and nicotine addiction. A report by the University of California San Francisco found nearly 15 percent of high school males use smokeless tobacco. Athletes are more likely to use versus their non-athlete peers.
The report singles out baseball as promoting the use of chewing tobacco with on-camera use being broadcast to millions every day.
The Fall of Big Tobacco
The ban in San Francisco is just the latest in a string of decisions (corporate) and ordinances removing it from various areas.
CVS decide last year to begin phasing out the sale of tobacco products. It’s a bold move, one costing the company $2 billion in revenue each year.
Colleges are also going smoke-free. Ordinances are popping up on campuses nationwide. 1,182 campuses have adopted smoke-free policies, doubling the rate from 2011.
What do you think? Is it time for us to get serious on tobacco as a matter of policy? Or, is this a nanny state run amok?
IMG Credits: Wikipedia & Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images