“Moneyball” is Blockbuster Reason to Get Tobacco Out of Baseball

September 26, 2011

Millions of moviegoers who saw the Hollywood blockbuster 'Moneyball,' this weekend watched a multi-million dollar advertisement for getting tobacco out of Major League Baseball.

Brad Pitt plays Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane with tobacco tucked in his cheek, spitting repeatedly into a cup. Though Major League Baseball asked Sony Pictures to remove the scenes of tobacco use, the movie company says it kept them in for authenticity.

And that’s the problem. 

The use of 'chew' or 'dip' is embedded in baseball culture, and this gives young fans the impression that smokeless tobacco use is cool and athletic, when it causes disease and death.

When today’s big league ballplayers use tobacco at games and on TV, they provide what amounts to free advertising for the tobacco industry.  Tobacco companies are banned from advertising their products on television and restricted from marketing to youth — they literally could not buy these powerful ads.  

We’ve now got more than 125 medical and public health groups, top health officials from Major League Baseball cities, faith leaders, youth organizations, baseball insiders and countless fans pushing for a prohibition on the use of smokeless tobacco by players and coaches while they are at games and on camera. Help us Knock Tobacco Out of the Park by recruiting new members of the team.

The ban should be included in the next collective bargaining agreement, which takes effect in 2012. Commissioner Bud Selig has proposed a prohibition, but the union hasn’t yet agreed.  

As the playoffs begin and the World Series approaches, we’ll be redoubling our efforts to end this last, remaining celebrity endorsement of tobacco.


The copyright to the poster from 'Moneyball' is owned by Sony Pictures Digital Inc.