The city of San Francisco, California has always differentiated from other cities across the country, and the town prides itself in being the bellwether of change. Yesterday, the home of the San Francisco Giants (where Willy Mayes, Buster Posey and Barry Bonds played) may become the first city in the nation to prohibit chewing tobacco from its field. This move could cause a seismic reaction throughout the baseball world.

Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban the use of smokeless tobacco at athletic venues, specifically targeting baseball. The ordinance is a microcosm of the overall vision for a tobacco-free environment. Washington- based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, targeted both city and state to promote its anti-smoking efforts. Consequently, an expansive, comprehensive legislative bill that banishes all use is circulating government hallways. Lawmakers and public administrators believe athletes engaging in these acts communicate an erroneous message to children. In addition, researchers correlate smokeless tobacco to numerous health problems, including nicotine addiction, pancreatic and oral cancer among other issues.

According to the Guardian publication, “San Francisco now prohibits smoking, including use of electronic cigarettes, at sports areas, fields, parks and stadiums. Jess Montegano said a ban on smokeless tobacco would be enforced the same way as regular smoking: by posting sign and removing violators from the premises”( TheGuardian, 2015). Minor league Baseball has a banned use of smokeless tobacco more than two decades ago, but it remains a negotiable contract item with the Major League Baseball players. Currently, coaches and players cannot chew tobacco during interviews, and both parties cannot carry tobacco while wearing a team uniform when fans are in the stadium.

In 2014, Hall of Fame outfielder and chewing tobacco user, Tony Gwynn died from mouth cancer. After his death, several pro baseball players vowed to stop chewing the substance.

Reference: The Guardian