It is time to take tobacco out of baseball for good — to set the right example for America’s kids and protect the health of the players. Smokeless tobacco use (and any tobacco use) by Major League Baseball players sets a terrible example for the millions of young people watching. Our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not an addictive product.

San Francisco’s AT&T Park became the first tobacco-free stadium in 2016, and now more than half of MLB stadiums (16 of 30) of MLB stadiums are completely tobacco-free. Additionally, the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement began prohibiting new MLB players from using smokeless tobacco in 2016.

Baseball is on a clear and inevitable path toward a tobacco-free future, but the job isn’t finished. To protect our kids, the remaining MLB cities must act and eliminate all tobacco use at baseball venues across the country.

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Recent headlines have driven home the seriousness of the problem. In 2014, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died at age 54 from salivary gland cancer. Shortly after, pitching great Curt Schilling went public about his treatment for oral cancer. Both players attributed their health battles to their longtime use of smokeless tobacco. Their experiences generated widespread media coverage and calls to take tobacco out of baseball.

The Orioles today announced their support for the city of Baltimore Council Bill 23-0418, which prohibits the use of all tobacco products in stadiums within Baltimore City, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Additionally, the Orioles will ban the use of all tobacco products at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex, Baltimore’s Spring Training home in Sarasota, Florida, as well as at the Buck O’Neil Complex at Twin Lakes Park.

January 24, 2024

It’s official: The days of using smokeless tobacco for Mariners players and competitors during games at Safeco Field are coming to an end. At a hearing Thursday afternoon, the King County Board of Health voted unanimously to prohibit smokeless tobacco at professional sports venues countywide — an ordinance that will take effect May 19. The move is in response to health advocates who say the habit among players sets a poor example for fans and young athletes.

The Seattle Times
April 19, 2018

logo_stlouisBaseball players with big wads of chewing tobacco in their cheek are now a thing from the past at Busch Stadium. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted Friday to prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco products like chewing tobacco, dip and snuff at all sports venues, including Cardinals games at Busch Stadium….Cardinals spokesman Ron Watermon said the team supported the ban.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 3, 2017

logo_usatodayMLB and the union, according to The Associated Press, agreed to ban smokeless tobacco for all new major leaguers, a proactive step to rid the game of a disgusting, cancer-causing habit that Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn’s family insists contributed to his 2014 death at the age of 54.

USA Today
December 1, 2016

Get the Facts

Smokeless tobacco includes products like chewing tobacco, snuff, and dip, snus, nicotine pouches and dissolvable products. Learn more about how these products impact kids.

REASON #1: Smokeless tobacco is harmful to health
Public health authorities including the Surgeon General and the National Cancer Institute have found that smokeless tobacco use is hazardous to health and can lead to nicotine addiction. Conventional smokeless tobacco products like snuff and chewing tobacco contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals and causes oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer. Use of those smokeless tobacco products is also associated with other health problems including lesions in the mouth and tooth decay. Smokeless tobacco use can increase the risk of death when users have heart attacks or strokes.
REASON #2: The tobacco industry is targeting kids with smokeless tobacco products
While smokeless tobacco use among youth has declined in recent years, the tobacco industry has introduced nicotine pouches like Zyn, On!, and Velo with youth-oriented marketing. These products come in a variety of nicotine levels and flavors and put kids at risk of addiction.
REASON #3: Tobacco use in baseball reinforces tobacco marketing
The marketing and promotional expenditures for the top five smokeless tobacco companies totaled $575 million in 2021 (the most recent year available). Much of this marketing is targeted toward young people through influencer marketing, event sponsorships, magazine advertisements, experience booths, free samples and merchandise.
REASON #4: Professional baseball players are role models for youth
Athletes are role models to youth. Kids identity with these athletes and follow their actions closely, and can easily be influenced if they see them using tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco use in baseball reinforces the tobacco industry’s marketing — especially to kids.


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* Truth Initiative is a strong supporter of tobacco-free baseball, but does not lobby and does not support or oppose specific legislation.




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