Add New York to the growing list of cities trying to get tobacco out of baseball once and for all. Council Member Corey Johnson, chair of the council’s Health Committee, today introduced legislation to prohibit the use of all tobacco products – including smokeless tobacco like chew, dip and snuff – at all ticketed sporting events within the city. The measure would cover Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.
“Our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Today’s announcement keeps the momentum firmly on our side to finally get tobacco out of baseball for kids, the players and the future. Today’s action in New York will help achieve our goal of making the next generation tobacco-free.”
Council Member Johnson introduced his tobacco-free baseball ordinance both to set the right example for America’s youth and for the health of the players. The legislation will send a simple and powerful message to kids with the 2016 season just two months away: baseball and tobacco don’t mix. New York is poised to join San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles – all of which have enacted similar measures that will take effect before the new season starts in April.
“When the nation’s largest city and home to two storied franchises makes such a move to rid baseball of the stain of tobacco, it’s destined to get serious and deserved attention across the country,” Myers added. “We applaud Council Member Johnson for introducing this important legislation and for his support in protecting the health of our children.”
Johnson’s proposal will apply to baseball games and other sporting events at all levels within city limits that require a ticket for admission and will cover players, fans and anyone in the entire venue during a baseball game or other sports or recreation activity. The law would take effect 120 days after final passage.
Other key facts:
- 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. A report issued in September 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that high school athletes use smokeless tobacco at nearly twice the rate of non-athletes, and smokeless tobacco use among athletes increased by 11 percent from 2001 to 2013. Among male high school athletes, smokeless tobacco use is particularly alarming at 17.4 percent in 2013.
More information on the Knock Tobacco Out of the Park campaign can be found at tobaccofreebaseball.org. The campaign has also released a video highlighting the urgency and success of the campaign, featuring political leaders, public health advocates, little league players and other supporters.