We Did It: New Baseball Contract Limits Smokeless Tobacco
Coalition to Knock Tobacco Out of the Park gets baseball to start snuffing out tobacco
Posted by: Editor | Nov 22, 2011
Major League Baseball and the players' union have taken an historic first step toward getting tobacco out of the ballgame by placing significant limits on smokeless tobacco at the ballpark and whenever players are around fans.
Under the new contract agreement that MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced, whenever fans are at the ballpark, players, manager and coaches will no longer be able to carry a tobacco tin or package in their uniform pocket, or anywhere on their bodies.
In addition, players, managers and coaches will be prohibited from using smokeless tobacco during televised interviews, at autograph signings and other events where they meet fans, or at team-sponsored appearances.
Baseball players have been using tobacco since the earliest days of the game. This agreement marks the first time that the league and the players’ union have recognized it's time to break this unhealthy addiction.
The MLBPA and the league also will join forces on a nationwide public service campaign on tobacco use that is aimed at youth, and particularly at young baseball players. Several players including Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees, Jeremy Guthrie of the Baltimore Orioles and C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers already have stepped forward to participate in the outreach program.
Though the contract does not call for a complete prohibition on smokeless tobacco use at games, the limits will make a difference in how smokeless tobacco use is perceived by young fans: It will no longer seem cool or athletic.
Four U.S. senators who had urged the tobacco ban — Richard Durbin of Illinois, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — praised the progress.
"Major League Baseball made the right decision today in choosing to implement stricter rules for smokeless tobacco on the field and off the field. This is a welcome acknowledgement by players and owners that tobacco use of any kind is no longer a tradition that should be upheld," the senators said.
This achievement is the result of hard work by a broad, national coalition of supporters and fans who came together to bring this issue to public attention and press for baseball to finally get tobacco out of the ballgame.