No more chewing tobacco at the ballpark

No more chewing tobacco at the ballpark

For years, chewing tobacco and baseball went together like peanuts and Cracker Jacks. But a new push by government officials across the country aims to end this close association by instituting tobacco bans in big league ballparks.

On April 6, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law that prohibits the use of smokeless tobacco products at all ticketed sporting events. With the ban came the first tobacco-free regular season game at Yankee Stadium.

“We welcome this historic action because our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a release. “With the mayor’s signature, New York sends the right message to millions of young fans that chewing tobacco is dangerous and should not be an accepted part of sports culture.”

“We really cannot stress the importance of good role modeling to our kids enough,” says Dr. Aaron Traeger, a pediatrician with Advocate Children’s Medical Group on staff at BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “Image is a lot to them, and if someone they respect is doing something, they may feel pressure to replicate.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, 9.9 percent of male high school students were using smokeless tobacco. The rate for high school male athletes was even higher, with one report estimating a 17.4 percent usage rate in 2013.

New York baseball became tobacco-free just days after Chicago became the fourth U.S. city to outlaw smokeless tobacco in sports stadiums, following San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles.

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About the Author

Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.