Boston mayor wants ban on chewing tobacco at ballparks
BOSTON (AP) — Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh wants to ban the use of snuff and chewing tobacco in sports venues across the city. The proposal follows passage of a similar ordinance in San Francisco, which became the first U.S. city to outlaw chewing tobacco from its playing fields in May.
Walsh is expected to discuss the proposal Wednesday morning. He’ll be joined by public health officials, advocates, local youth and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.
Schilling, now an ESPN analyst, revealed earlier this year he was diagnosed and treated for mouth cancer. He believes chewing tobacco was the cause.
Walsh plans to officially file the ordinance with the City Council on Monday. It would cover professional, collegiate, school or organized amateur sporting events and be effective April 1, 2016. Violators would be subject to a $250 fine.
The mayor wants to prohibit use of “smokeless tobacco” products, which his proposal defines as any product containing “cut, ground, powdered, or leaf tobacco and is intended to be placed in the oral or nasal cavity.”
Walsh’s office notes that while cigarette smoking has been on the decline in the U.S., smokeless tobacco use among youth has remained relatively steady since 1999. Nearly 15 percent of high-school age boys reported using smokeless products in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Surgeon General and the National Cancer Institute say smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals that can lead to oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer and other health problems like mouth lesions and tooth decay.
Los Angeles is considering a similar ban, but it is focused solely on baseball and does not affect other sports.