Health Officials in Major League Cities Want Tobacco-Free Baseball

March 29, 2011


The movement to get tobacco out of Major League Baseball is gaining momentum.

Top public health officials from coast to coast — representing a majority of cities where Major League Baseball is played — have joined in asking MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, to prohibit use of tobacco by players, coaches and other baseball staff at games.

The health officials of 15 MLB cities sent Selig and Weiner a letter asking that the tobacco ban be included in the new contract that takes effect in 2012.

'We know that baseball is important to civic life and that ballplayers are local heroes,' the officials wrote. 'They should provide positive role models and not associate themselves with a product that causes disease and death.'

More than 5,300 fans also have sent messages to MLB and the players' union. Some have told their personal stories of loved ones becoming addicted to smokeless tobacco as teenagers — often because they were exposed to it through sports and recreation.

And Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, who is struggling against cancer that he blames on a lifetime of chewing tobacco, told his story of courage and recovery to ESPN.

Opening Day is this Thursday. Celebrate the start of the season by taking action now to Knock Tobacco Out of the Park!