LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The City Council has voted to move forward with a proposal to ban smokeless tobacco products from all venues in Los Angeles where amateur and professional baseball and other sports are played.
The council voted 14-0 on Tuesday, Sept. 8, to instruct the City Attorney’s Office to prepare an ordinance prohibiting smokeless tobacco, also referred to as “chewing tobacco,” at stadiums, fields and other venues where organized sports, including baseball, are played.
The Los Angeles Dodgers issued a statement expressing their support for the ban.
“Major League Baseball has long supported a ban of smokeless tobacco at the Major League level and the Los Angeles Dodgers fully support the Los Angeles city tobacco ordinance and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,” the statement said.
Councilman Jose Huizar, who authored the motion, said chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer. Not only does it affect ball players who use the product, it also “affects our young people and those who want to emulate their idols,” he said.
Councilman Paul Koretz noted the product has long been popular among players who often stand around in the field and needed something to calm their nerves.
“Baseball players have been endorsing chewing tobacco for decades and decades,” he said, and those endorsements have “had a significant impact in the continuing use of chewing tobacco.”
Also in support of the ban was Councilman Paul Krekorian, who noted that “even if chewing smokeless tobacco is on the decline … and even if it’s not as popular in baseball as it once was, this step forward is a great opportunity for us to send the message to kids again: don’t start this, don’t start tobacco in any of its forms.”
The proposed ordinance would affect venues where sports games are by youth, school, park and other groups.
The council’s Health, Mental Health and Education Committee this morning the original motion — which would have only affected baseball game venues — to expand the proposed ban to venues where other organized sports games are played, as well as baseball.
Huizar said the change was recommended by city attorneys to make the ordinance more “robust.”