Baseball Playoffs Can Make History for Health

October 10, 2011

The Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals can do more than make baseball history as they face off in the American and National League championship series.  

The players can help break Major League Baseball's addiction to smokeless tobacco by voluntarily refraining from using tobacco during the high-profile playoff games, viewed by millions of kids in the United States and around the world.

Just last week, Rangers' catcher Mike Napoli demonstrated one hazard from using tobacco during games when he swallowed his chew during a collision at the plate.   Even worse, smokeless tobacco use causes oral cancer and is linked to cancer of the esophagus, pharynx, larynx, stomach and pancreas.  

With smokeless tobacco use by high school boys spiraling — it's increased 36 percent since 2003 — it's critical that big-league ballplayers stop providing what amounts to a celebrity endorsement of an addictive and deadly product.    

They should follow the lead of former Brewers owner and current baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who has endorsed a prohibition on tobacco use at ballparks.  The Major League Baseball Players Association should agree to the ban as part of the new contract being negotiated now.

Let the playoff teams hear your voice today!