On Giants’ Home Opening Day, New… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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On Giants’ Home Opening Day, New Poll Shows Strong Support for Measure To Make San Francisco Baseball Completely Tobacco-Free

Voters Want to 'Play Ball' with Proposal to Protect Kids from Harms of Smokeless Tobacco
April 13, 2015


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A new poll shows San Francisco voters strongly support a proposal before the Board of Supervisors to prohibit the use of all tobacco products – including chewing and spit tobacco – at all baseball venues within the city. The measure aims to set the right example for kids by sending a simple and powerful message as the 2015 season gets underway: baseball and tobacco don’t mix.

The poll, released the day of the home opener for the World Champion Giants, showed that by more than a 2-1 ratio – 63 percent to 29 percent – San Francisco voters support the proposed ordinance. It would prohibit tobacco use by fans and players, including professionals, at all baseball venues and other athletic fields in the city of San Francisco.

“Smokeless tobacco has no place in baseball,” said San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell (District 2), author of the measure. “This poll shows that the voters of San Francisco agree that it’s time to put the health of our youth first, make baseball tobacco-free and rid the sport once and for all of tobacco.”

The poll asked respondents about the individual provisions of the proposal. Voters expressed strong support for all the components, including:

  • Prohibiting tobacco use at all baseball fields in the city of San Francisco from Little League to AT&T Park (72 percent to 26 percent) and
  • Applying the measure to Major League Baseball players and prohibiting their use of all tobacco products while at the field (67 percent to 30 percent).

More than three-quarters of voters (76 percent) also said they found the measure’s goal of “reducing the number of young people who start using smokeless tobacco” to be extremely or very important. (Only 7 percent said that goal was “not too important.”)

Public health groups launched the “Knock Tobacco Out of the Park” campaign earlier this year to promote tobacco-free baseball and provide visibility to the issue of smokeless tobacco in baseball.

National, state and city organizations supporting tobacco-free baseball also ran a full-page ad today in the San Francisco Chronicle. The ad declares, “When heroes step up to the plate, kids take note. Let’s make San Francisco the first city to take tobacco out of baseball.” Organizations on the ad include the San Francisco Medical Society, San Francisco Parks Alliance, California Medical Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and American Lung Association.

Health authorities have found that smokeless tobacco use is hazardous to health and can lead to nicotine addiction. Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 known carcinogens and causes oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer – as well as other serious health problems such as gum disease, tooth decay and mouth lesions.
Even as cigarette use continues a steady decline among youth, smokeless tobacco use has remained troublingly steady. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013, 14.7 percent of high school boys (and 8.8 percent of all high school students) reported current use of smokeless tobacco products. Each year, about 535,000 kids age 12-17 use smokeless tobacco for the first time.

“The San Francisco Giants are the reigning World Champions of Major League Baseball. With passage of this measure, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will become the World Champions of Tobacco-Free Baseball by standing up for our kids, the players and the future,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product. It’s time to create the first tobacco-free generation.”

The poll and newspaper ad come as the Board of Supervisors prepares to consider the measure. This Thursday, April 16, the Board’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee will hold the first hearing on the proposal. The California Legislature, meanwhile, is considering a similar statewide bill introduced by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond.

More information on the Knock Tobacco Out of the Park campaign can be found at tobaccofreebaseball.org. A summary of the poll results is available here and the full results here.

From March 29-31, 2015, the California-based research firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) completed 503 telephone interviews (on landlines and cell phones, and in English and Chinese) with randomly-selected San Francisco voters. The margin of sampling error is +/-4.5% at the 95% confidence level; margins of error for population subgroups within each sample will be higher. Due to rounding, not all totals will sum to 100%.