FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 2, 2015
CONTACT: John Schachter, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 202-296-5469
Boston City Council Votes to Take Tobacco Out of Baseball, Including Historic Fenway Park
Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
WASHINGTON, DC – Today the city of Boston delivered a huge victory for kids by acting to take tobacco out of baseball once and for all. This action will save lives by reducing the number of young people who begin to use smokeless tobacco because they followed the example of the Major Leaguers they idolize. The City Council voted unanimously to prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products at baseball parks, including Fenway Park, and other professional and amateur sports venues throughout the city.
Boston joins San Francisco in making all baseball stadiums tobacco-free, with both ordinances scheduled to take effect before the 2016 season (San Francisco on January 1 and Boston on April 1). These great baseball cities have set a powerful example that should be quickly followed by all of Major League Baseball.
The Los Angeles City Council is expected to act on the issue in the coming weeks. From coast to coast, the momentum is building to get tobacco out of baseball for kids, the players and the future. The message is clear: Our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product.
We thank Mayor Marty Walsh, the City Council and Boston’s health community for their leadership on this important issue. These leaders understand that professional athletes are role models for impressionable youth. When baseball stars use smokeless tobacco, the kids who look up to them are much more likely to do so as well.
While cigarette smoking in the United States has steadily declined, smokeless tobacco use among youth has remained troublingly steady. The CDC reports that nationally 14.7 percent of high-school boys and 8.8 percent of all high-school students used smokeless tobacco in 2013. Each year, about 535,000 kids age 12-17 use smokeless tobacco for the first time.
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.
All Baseball Fans
Ask Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association to set the right example for kids and take tobacco out of baseball.