Mar. 30 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. — When the 2017 Major League Baseball season opens in just a few days, more ballparks and games will be tobacco-free than ever before – and that’s a terrific example for millions of young fans.
Nearly half the Major League stadiums (14 of 30) will be completely tobacco-free as a result of state and local laws. In addition, the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) reached last year between players and owners prohibits new MLB players from using smokeless tobacco, like chew, dip and snuff. The agreement also makes violations of local tobacco-free stadium laws violations of the CBA as well, strengthening enforcement.
This amazing progress makes it a matter of when, not if, baseball becomes completely tobacco-free. The remaining Major League cities must act now to prohibit smokeless tobacco use at sports venues so another generation of kids doesn’t grow up watching their baseball idols use tobacco. It is time to break the long and harmful link between baseball and tobacco for good. Our national pastime should promote a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product.
To date, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, San Francisco, St. Louis, St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) and Washington, D.C., have all enacted laws prohibiting tobacco use at sports venues, including their professional baseball stadiums. A statewide law in California will also be in effect this season.
Less than 18 months after San Francisco became the first city to take tobacco out of baseball, MLB saw its first tobacco-free post-season games, including a tobacco-free World Series winner in Chicago. The Cubs went over 100 years without a championship, but within four months of prohibiting tobacco use in its baseball facilities, the city hoisted a World Series banner. We cannot guarantee that other cities and teams will enjoy that same success, but what Major League city doesn’t want to do everything it can to enhance its chances for a championship? It’s time to take tobacco out of baseball completely.
# # #
The Knock Tobacco Out of the Park campaign, a coalition of public health and medical organizations, has advocated for tobacco-free baseball. Other key facts in support of the campaign include: