State, local legislators propose ban on chewing tobacco at ballparks

Both California and San Francisco lawmakers have introduced legislation that could keep chewing tobacco out of baseball parks, including the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park.

State Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco, including electronic cigarettes, at all organized baseball venues in the state.

Thurmond said the legislation is not only an effort to protect players’ health, but also to set a positive example for children.

San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell introduced similar legislation Tuesday would ban smokeless tobacco from all baseball fields in the city, as well as at the Giants’ ballpark, even if Thurmond’s measure fails.

Farrell said that as a baseball fan and a father who coaches his children’s baseball team, he believes it is time San Francisco steps up to the plate and takes tobacco out of the national pastime.

Farrell said:

“I am doing this for my children.”

According to a statement released by Major League Baseball this week, MLB has long been a proponent of banning smokeless tobacco at the major league level.

While MLB players, managers and coaches are prohibited from using smokeless tobacco during interviews or club appearances, there is currently nothing prohibiting them from chewing tobacco during a game or practice session.

The league said in a statement:

“We have sought a ban of its use on-field in discussions with the Major League Baseball Players Association.”

However, the matter of smokeless tobacco is subject to collective bargaining, league officials said.

MLB officials said:

“We ardently believe that children should not use or be exposed to smokeless tobacco, and we support the spirit of this initiative in California and any others that would help achieve this important goal.”