Tuesday, September 08, 2015

No Chew For You

I hadn't realized this was a thing.

Since I'm not an resident of Los Angeles and rarely watch local news on the television, I didn't know that this issue was coming to the forefront.  From what I understand, the LA city council considered an city ordinance to ban the use of smokeless tobacco at all venues this morning.  This would include not only Dodger Stadium but also any place where Baseball is played on the professional or amateur level; such as parks, organized high school games, etc.

Per Dennis Romero at the LA Weekly:
This morning the City Council's Health, Mental Health & Education Committee will consider a motion by Councilman José Huizar that would prohibit the products at city baseball venues. Here's the proposal's key language:
     ... The city of Los Angeles should implement a plan, for which the City Attorney should draft an ordinance for review in 90 days, to outlaw the use of smokeless tobacco at all venues in the city of Los Angeles where organized baseball is played, either amateur or professional, including but not limited to youth, school and park leagues played at all city stadiums, parks and venues.
Even though Dodger Stadium is not owned by the people of L.A., a spokesman for Huizar says the ban would include "big league parks like Dodger Stadium."
In fact, they unanimously voted to support the motion to ban the substance throughout the city at their morning meeting, via CBS LosAngeles.

Notwithstanding the awkwardness of focusing a law like this on a single game like Baseball (although, I do understand how prolific it's use is in the game at all levels), nobody should be surprised that this will happen.

The use of chewing tobacco at ballparks is already banned in a couple of cities (San Francisco and Boston), and no one doubts that it's use is bad for you.  All you have to do is remember Tony Gwynn and his recent losing battle with cancer to know that.  Via the LA Daily News:
“There is no good that comes out of smokeless tobacco use in baseball -- not for the players and not for the millions of kids who look up to them,” he said. “It’s time to do the right thing and take tobacco out of the game completely for the good of baseball and the health of our kids and players alike.”
I can't say I disagree.  For far too long Baseball and chew have gone hand-in-hand, and there is no better time like the present to remove that image from our collective minds.

BTW, the Dodgers released their own statement this morning regarding the proposed ordinance:
“Major League Baseball has long supported a ban of smokeless tobacco at the Major League level and the Los Angeles Dodgers fully support the Los Angeles City Tobacco ordinance and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.”
I do wonder how this might effect players.  Tobacco use like chew is an addictive substance, and being unable to use it when you had previously been allowed could effect their game.  On the other hand, maybe the importance of a public health change like this is worth whatever complaints we hear from ballplayers.

UPDATE:  I thought I would add that it could be several months before an actual ban takes place.  So, don't expect an outright ban at Dodger Stadium right away.  There is still a process the city council has to go through, but it's clear that chewing tobacco will be on the outs.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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