A huge change appears to be on the way for the Los Angeles Dodgers and all other sports franchises in Los Angeles. A motion to ban smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco and snuff, was unanimously voted upon by the City Council.
The city of Los Angeles looks to join the likes of San Francisco and Boston as the only cities to ban tobacco from their sports venues. The ordinance is still awaiting a final vote but if passed, the measure would take effect in January and would apply to players, fans and anyone in a sports venue.
The Dodgers announced their support for the new measure:
“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.”
In addition to the franchise as a whole, pitcher J.P. Howell also voiced his support for the ban via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register:
Good. Ban it. Do me a favor,” said Dodgers reliever J.P. Howell, a dedicated tobacco user since his college days.
Chewing tobacco has been something that has been engrained in the culture of baseball. Many players have tried it or used it and some with deadly consequence, such as Tony Gwynn, who passed away from salivary gland cancer just last year.
Other players such as Brett Anderson say they aren’t addicted, but it’s just a force of habit:
If they banned it, I’d be fine with that,” Dodgers left-hander Brett Anderson said, describing himself as only an occasional user. “This could be my last one forever. I’ve never been addicted to it. It’s just something I do out of boredom.”
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which is an organization that aims to prevent kids from smoking, was a leading force in the coalition to ban tobacco in the three major cities. With the Knock Tobacco Out of the Park movement, the organization aims to use the influence of Major League Baseball players to discourage tobacco use in children.
Dodgers manager echoed that sentiment when discussing his use of tobacco:
Honestly, knowing that kids are watching and cameras are on you all the time (prompted him to quit),” Mattingly said. “And knowing it was bad for me.”
Though the vote is not yet finalized, it appears as though tobacco will no longer be a part of Los Angeles baseball.