For Immediate Release: March 27, 2019
Contact: John Schachter (202) 296-5469
Arizona Diamondbacks Join Growing List of Teams with Tobacco-Free Baseball – 16 of 30 MLB Stadiums Have Knocked Tobacco Out of the Park
Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Adding momentum to the national campaign to take tobacco out of baseball, the Maricopa County Stadium District Board of Directors today approved a new policy prohibiting the use of smokeless tobacco products (like chew, dip and snuff) at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. With 2019 Opening Day tomorrow, this announcement sends a simple and powerful message to kids: baseball and tobacco don’t mix. With the addition of Chase Field, more than half of Major League Baseball (MLB) stadiums – 16 of 30 – have tobacco-free baseball at the start of the 2019 season.
Today’s announcement also affirms that our national pastime should promote a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product. It sends the right message: Baseball players and other athletes are role models for our nation’s youth, while chewing tobacco is dangerous and should not be an accepted part of sports culture. This measure set the right example for America’s youth and benefit the players’ health as well.
We thank the Arizona Diamondbacks, their President and CEO Derrick Hall, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and MLB for supporting the policy announced today.
Phoenix joins the growing number of Major League cities to take tobacco out of baseball. Other Major League cities covered by similar local or state laws include Anaheim (Los Angeles Angels), Boston (Red Sox), Chicago (Cubs and White Sox), Los Angeles (Dodgers), Milwaukee (Brewers), New York (Mets and Yankees), Oakland (A’s), San Diego (Padres), San Francisco (Giants), St. Louis (Cardinals), St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay Rays), Seattle (Mariners) and Washington, D.C. (Nationals).
In addition to these laws, MLB’s latest collective bargaining agreement prohibits all new MLB players from using smokeless tobacco. Together, these actions make it inevitable that baseball will eventually be tobacco-free, but MLB cities should act sooner rather than later to break the long and harmful link between baseball and tobacco.
- Public health experts – including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Surgeon General, National Cancer Institute and World Health Organization – have all concluded that smokeless tobacco use is dangerous. Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 known carcinogens and causes oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer. Using these products can also lead to nicotine addiction and other serious health problems like gum disease, tooth decay and mouth lesions.
- The CDC has reported that high school athletes use smokeless tobacco at nearly twice the rate of non-athletes. Each day, more than 1,200 kids age 12-17 use smokeless tobacco for the first time.
- Smokeless tobacco manufacturers spent $759.3 million on marketing in 2016 (the most recent data available), driving home the message that teen boys cannot be real men unless they chew. The link between baseball and chewing tobacco reinforces this message.
The Knock Tobacco Out of the Park campaign, a coalition of public health and medical organizations, has advocated for tobacco-free baseball.
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.