A good first step. On November 22nd, Major League Baseball announced tighter restrictions pertaining to the use of smokeless tobacco by its players, as part of a new labor deal. Although players will still be able to use smokeless tobacco products during the game, they now cannot use them in pre-and post game interviews, or display packages in their back pockets when spectators are in the stands. In addition, the players union has agreed to partake in a national public service campaign with the Partnership at Drugfree.org.
This is a good first step, but there is still room for improvement.
See American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown’s statement below:
“The American Heart Association is pleased that baseball players recognize the dangers of smokeless tobacco use and will now take steps to reduce its visibility during and after games and other public events, and educate young people about its dangers.
While today’s Major League Baseball agreement on smokeless tobacco is not a grand slam, it is definitely a solid base hit. Although the players would not agree to stop using tobacco while on the field, the contract provisions are an important step forward.
Children who emulate their favorite players by using smokeless tobacco risk falling into a trap that can lead to a lifetime of nicotine addiction. Evidence shows that kids who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers.
Baseball is the nation’s pastime, and Americans cherish this great game and its time-honored traditions. But in the case of smokeless tobacco, there are clear indications that tradition leads to undesired health consequences, including oral cancer, tooth decay, gum disease, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.”