ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
For years, public health leaders have urged Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB Players Association to end smokeless tobacco use in baseball. The new collective bargaining agreement between owners and players reached on Nov. 30, 2016, prohibits all new MLB players from using smokeless tobacco – which means baseball is on a clear and inevitable path to become tobacco-free.
But MLB cities can make it happen sooner rather than later. To protect our kids, cities must act and prohibit all tobacco use at baseball venues across the country.
Over half of MLB stadiums (16 of 30) are now completely tobacco-free as a result of state and local laws. MLB cities covered by such laws include Anaheim, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Oakland, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay (St. Petersburg), and Washington, D.C. The remaining MLB cities must act sooner rather than later to break the link between baseball and tobacco for good.
Download our fact sheet and watch our video to learn more about the campaign.
IN THE NEWS
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 Seattle Times
April 19, 2018
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
November 22, 2016
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 3, 2017
December 1, 2016
Get the Facts
The widespread use of smokeless tobacco in baseball helps to promote a product that can lead to nicotine addiction and causes cancer, as well as other health problems. Given this terrible example, it’s no surprise that too many kids are using smokeless tobacco. In 2018, 8.4 percent of high school boys (and 5.9 percent of all high school students) reported current use of smokeless tobacco products.
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. Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals and causes oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer. Use of smokeless tobacco is also associated with other health problems including lesions in the mouth and tooth decay. Smokeless tobacco use increases the risk of death when users have heart attacks or strokes.
REASON #2: Too many kids are using smokeless tobacco
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 2018, 8.4 percent of high school boys reported current use of smokeless tobacco products. A different survey found that high school athletes use smokeless tobacco at nearly twice the rate of non-athletes, and smokeless tobacco use among athletes increased 11 percent from 2001 to 2013, even as smoking rates dropped significantly. Among male high school athletes, smokeless tobacco use was particularly alarming at 17.4 percent in 2013. Each day, more than 1,200 kids age 12-17 use smokeless tobacco for the first time.
REASON #3: Tobacco use in baseball reinforces tobacco marketing
Smokeless tobacco companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get young people to use their products. In fact, marketing and promotional expenditures for the top five smokeless tobacco companies totaled $718.3 million in 2017 (the most recent year available). Smokeless tobacco continues to be heavily advertised in magazines with large youth readerships, often with a message telling teen boys they can’t be real men without smokeless tobacco. The ads have tag lines like “May cause the urge to act like a man.” Smokeless tobacco use in baseball reinforces that message.
REASON #4: Professional baseball players are role models for youth
An expert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that, “Professional athletes in certain sports, including baseball . . . have traditionally had high levels of smokeless tobacco use. Athletes serve as role models for youth, and smokeless tobacco manufacturers have used advertising, images, and testimonials featuring athletes and sports to make smokeless tobacco products appear attractive to youth. Children and teens closely observe athletes’ actions, including their use of tobacco products, and are influenced by what they see. Adolescents tend to mimic the behaviors of those they look up to and identify with, including baseball players and other athletes.”
All Baseball Fans
JOIN THE TOBACCO-FREE ALL-STAR TEAM
Use the Tobacco-Free Baseball Card Generator to create your own card.
Download and share on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and then look for your photo in our Tobacco-Free Baseball Card Gallery.