WASHINGTON – (WMAL) Like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston before it, D.C. is now proposing a ban on smokeless tobacco products in its sports venues, Nats Park included. Lawmakers are targeting the widespread use of chewing tobacco by players, coaches, and umpires.
“Nicotine dependency, some forms of cancer, there’s still a health concern with these products,” D.C. Councilmember Yvette Alexander told WMAL. “If you can recall at one point, you could smoke everywhere – offices, restaurants, bars. So we’re evolving. Now’s the time.”
Chewing tobacco use in the Major Leagues is trending down, with many players switching to sunflower seeds or gum. But Alexander says it’s still widespread enough to have an effect on younger generations.
“A lot of athletes, especially baseball players, advertise the products and use the products. With our young people at the games and they see this, and they participate in sports, it becomes a culture that that’s just something that goes along with the sport,” Alexander said. “We want to discourage that.”
San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston have already enacted similar bans. California will have a statewide ban go into effect next year, while councils in New York and Chicago are also proposing a ban. The MLB Players’ Union in the past has fought to stop a league-wide ban.
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