Baseball players have been chewing tobacco for such a long time that we are accustomed to seeing them dipping without giving it a second thought. However, the list of cities trying to ban the use of smokeless tobacco in baseball is rising, which means that Major League Baseball and the players union will have a discussion about banning the use during their next collective bargaining agreement. Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have already banned the use of smokeless tobacco at stadiums, and online MLB sportsbook odds have Chicago as the next city to do so.
Despite Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn dying from cancer due to his use of smokeless tobacco, MLB has been reluctant to banning its use by players and team staff. Instead of waiting on the league and players union to work out a deal banning smokeless tobacco from clubhouses, the Chicago City Council is trying to get involved in the process.
On Wednesday, the Chicago City Council will vote on a proposal that would ban smokeless tobacco from baseball games as well as other events held at stadiums in the city. According to reports, City Council is doing it to prevent kids from picking up the habit because their favorite players dip.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin sent out a tweet that said kids are more likely to start using smokeless tobacco when they see their baseball heroes using it while playing. Durbin used an analogy of a T-ball player that can’t hit a fastball wearing eye paint like professionals do because he sees them wearing the paint during games.
Despite the claims that children will start using smokeless tobacco because their baseball idols use it, research shows that isn’t the case.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5.5 percent of high school students use smokeless tobacco, which is significantly lower than the 9.2 percent that smoke cigarettes, the 13.4 that use electronic cigarettes, and the 9.4 percent that use hookahs.
While those numbers are unacceptable, it shows that baseball players using smokeless tobacco doesn’t have as much of an effect as the Chicago City Council and Senator Durbin think they do. In fact, kids watching baseball games are more likely to try beer before they are 21 because it is heavily advertised during games and visible in the stands.
Federal law requires tobacco manufacturers to put one of four warnings on every pack of smokeless tobacco that they sell.
One of the signs warns that smokeless tobacco can lead to mouth cancer. Another warning says using smokeless tobacco can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. The third warning says smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes, and the fourth warns that smokeless tobacco is very addictive.
The current laws in Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco ban the use of smokeless tobacco by players, team staff, umpires, and fans. The law being proposed in Chicago will be similar to the laws in the cities mentioned.
As a deterrent, first time violators of the proposed law will be fined $100-$250. The people who own or operate the sports venue could also receive fines if the law is violated. A third violation in a year can lead to a $2,500 fine and a 60-day suspension of their license or permit to hold sporting events.