Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Bud Selig says he believes smokeless tobacco should be banned at the Major League level. He described his desire to rid baseball of smokeless tobacco in a letter to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
The Associated Press reported that the issue comes as owners and the players’ union start negotiating on a new collective bargaining agreement. The ban would have to be added to the next agreement. Selig said MLB will propose smokeless tobacco restrictions at the Major League level that are similar to those currently in place in the Minor Leagues, where smokeless tobacco, including dip and chew, are banned in ballparks.
Selig was responding to a letter he received this winter from public health officials in 15 cities with Major League teams, urging MLB to ban tobacco use by all ballpark personnel. They noted links between smokeless tobacco and oral cancer, gum disease and other health issues. They also pointed to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that use of smokeless tobacco among high school boys has risen 36 percent since 2003.