Saw a really funny Robot Chicken episode on Adult Swim Sunday night poking fun at tobacco use among kids’ cartoon characters.
Being Robot Chicken, it was a bit demented, but still funny. The skit shows Fred Flintstone, Olive Oyl and Caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland all in a hospital ward dying of lung disease. And the Pink Panther is also shown coughing and wheezing after taking a drag on his cigarette (Remember, the Pink Panther smoked, too.).
The Pink Panther has emphysema. Fred, who once actually was used by Winston cigarettes as a spokesman, is dying and is forced to use an electronic voice box. I cracked up at one of the comments on the YouTube video of the old Flintstone’s 1961 Winston commercial. A YouTube user said she had no idea there was a Flintstone’s cigarette ad until she saw the Robot Chicken skit.
Olive Oyl has lung disease from secondhand smoke from Popeye’s pipe and Caterpillar, who famously smoked a hookah in the 1950s Disney cartoon, is dying of lung cancer. In the Disney cartoon, in fact, not only did the Caterpillar smoke, he smoked around children and blew cigarette smoke right into Alice’s face. Alice didn’t cough or wheeze from it in the slightest. Jesus.
Popeye walks into the hospital ward and lights up his pipe, prompting a coughing fit from Olive Oyl. Barnie Rubble makes fun of Fred’s voice, then lights one of his Winstons near Fred’s oxygen tank, blowing them all up.
It’s demented fun, but the skit makes the point that there was a shocking amount of smoking in kids’ cartoons — Pinocchio, Goofy, Tom and Jerry all smoked. In fact, there continued to be a lot of smoking in kids’ cartoons right up until the early 2000s in Hiyao Miyazaki movies like “Spirited Away.” For some reason, Miyazaki always seems to include a lot of smoking in most of his anime films.
I’m not sure how I feel about this, it certainly seems a bit extreme. But, an interesting tactic here, nonetheless.
A class-action lawsuit was filed recently to force the MPAA to require an automatic “R” rating for any smoking in a movie. As it stands now, the MPAA has kind of a convoluted policy to discourage smoking in PG-13 movies, but not outright ban it. Smoking is allowed under a complex set of conditions — as long as it isn’t pervasive, if it’s historically accurate (say if the film takes place in the 1950s), if smokers are shown hating cigarettes or getting sick from smoking.
It’s under this convoluted set of rules that you get an early 1960s movie like “Man From U.N.C.L.E” that is rated PG-13 but has virtually no smoking, or a PG-13 movie like “Bridge of Spies,” which takes place in the late ’50s and early 60s and has several smoking scenes, or a really violent, foul-mouthed R-rated movie like “Deadpool” that despite its extremely hard R rating, has absolutely no smoking in it (mostly because of a Disney/Marvel studio policy that forbids smoking in its movies now).
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in California in late February. It seeks monetary damages for the promotion of tobacco use among kids and an injunction to immediately stop PG-13, PG and G ratings for any movies that depict tobacco use.
The lawsuit points out that since at least 2003, Hollywood has known that tobacco imagery in films rated “G,” “PG,” and “PG-13,” is one of the major causes of children becoming addicted to nicotine. Disney, Paramount, Sony, Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. are said to have been given recommendations from health experts at leading universities throughout the country as well as the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and the American Public Health Association, and yet are allegedly continuing to stamp “their seal of approval” on films meant for children that feature tobacco imagery.
Among the films cited are Spectre, Dumb and Dumber To, Transformers: Age of Extinction, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider Man 2, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, Men in Black 3 and The Woman in Black.
According to the complaint, “From 2003 when the defendants were notified that exposure to tobacco imagery in films causes children and adolescents to smoke, through 2015, youth-rated movies recruited approximately 4.6 million adolescents in the United States to smoke, of which approximately 1.5 million are expected to die from tobacco-induced diseases in years to come. And, at current rates, if defendants continue their current practice of certifying and rating films with tobacco imagery as suitable and appropriate for children and adolescents under the age of seventeen unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, defendants’ conduct will cause an additional 3.2 million American children alive today to smoke, and one million of those children to die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and emphysema.”
The lawsuit demands a declaratory judgment that the industry’s film ratings practices amount are negligent, false and misleading and a breach of fiduciary and statutory duties. The lawsuit also aims for an injunction where no films featuring tobacco imagery can be given “G,” “PG” or “PG-13” ratings.
One of the reasons I’m not wild about this lawsuit is the current MPAA policy is more or less working. Is it working a bit too slowly for my tastes? Yeah, a bit, it’s certainly not perfect, and Hollywood has shown to be damned stubborn about the issue. But, studies have shown that smoking has dropped dramatically in PG-13 and lower-rated movies since the policy went into effect about seven or eight years ago (It’s been cut roughly 50 percent from 2008 and about 60 percent since 2004). It hasn’t been eliminated, but it has dropped. Mostly because studios just don’t want to expend the energy defending smoking scenes to the MPAA board. And some studios, like Disney/Marvel, have voluntarily banned all smoking in its movies. (And for the record, movies can depict all the smoking they want in R-rated movies as far as the MPAA is concerned.).
According to the New York Times, the lawsuit, if it’s allowed to move forward, could result in blowing up the MPAA system, a voluntary rating system agreed to by all the studios in the 1960s to ward off potential governmental interference in movie ratings.
But judicial interference might also crack the ratings system wide open, exposing it to similar challenges by those who would like to see tougher ratings for portrayals of gun violence or drug use.
Key decisions are still months away. But the Forsyth suit, currently just a skirmish in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, has the look of a future battle royale — perhaps the biggest since 1968, when Jack Valenti, then president of the motion picture association, established the voluntary ratings system with an eye toward keeping the courts and lawmakers away.
While I may not be on-board with this lawsuit (my attitude is I actually do believe in the First Amendment. Give the MPAA another 10 years or so with the current policy — frankly, it’s working, so I’m not sure this lawsuit is necessary.), the issue of smoking in movies is a very valid one. One of the main pro-tobacco influences on kids for decades were movies, as smoking characters such as Lauren Becall, Humphrey Bogart (who died of esophogal cancer in his 50s) and James Bond were shown to be cool and suave and sophistated. And all this advertising for the tobacco industry was free. It wasn’t until 1980 that the tobacco industry actually started paying Hollywood studios to promote smoking and tobacco products, and disgustingly, this practise actually began with a kids’ movie — Superman II.
The practise of tobacco product placement in movies was banned by the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. However, shockingly, depictions of tobacco use in PG-13 and PG movies actually went UP between 1998 and 2008 — the movie studios just kept giving the tobacco industry advertising … completely free of charge. This resulted in a grass-roots effort to change the MPAA rating system to include tobacco use as a factor.
Last year, I did a piece on the Expansion Era Veteran’s Committee and the various players considered for the Hall. None of them got picked; I personally advocated strongly for Gil Hodges and Dick Allen, a little less vociferously for Tony Oliva. But, one guy I blew off as “probably not being good enough for the Hall of Fame” was Luis Tiant.
My argument against Tiant being in the Hall of Fame is he only really had six very good years. He won 20 games four times, but he only ever won more than 12 games in season seven times. Basically, his career breaks down to seven, maybe eight good seasons, six mediocre seasons and frankly, five kind of lousy seasons. I figured that isn’t good enough for the Hall of Fame. Well, the veterans’ committee agreed and didn’t put Tiant in. In fact, they didn’t put anyone in.
But, now I’ve done a bit of a 180° on Tiant now, mostly thanks to the power of persuasion … because of someone in a baseball discussion group (I’m not 100 percent positive here, but I’m looking at you, Bill Hall) pointed out to me that Tiant’s numbers were virtually the same at Catfish Hunter’s. Hunter, of course, is in the Hall of Fame and I’m not going to argue he doesn’t belong. I looked it up and compared the statistics of Hunter and Tiant and said, “oh, my gosh, this is really remarkable.” Bill was right! Their numbers are virtually identical. And they pitched in virtually the same era in the same league (Catfish Hunter 1965-1979, Luis Tiant 1964-1982). So a direct comparison is completely fair. Check this out. This is amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two players with such similar stats.
Pretty darn close, aren’t they? In fact, in most of those categories, Tiant is better. He’s a LOT better in career Wins Above Replacement, a statistic I’m not wild about, but baseball sabremetrics geeks love. In fact, Tiant is 40th all-time in career WAR for pitchers, better than a LOT of Hall of Famer pitchers. His ERA+ is a lot better than Hunter’s, too. Especially in advanced metrics, Tiant’s Hall of Fame resume is stronger than Hunter’s.
Tiant led the AL in ERA twice and shutouts three times. Hunter led the AL in wins twice, ERA once and complete games once. Hunter did have an incredible five-year stretch in which he went 111-49 and won three World Series. Tiant’s success was more spread out over the course of his career, with some poor years in-between. His best five-year run was 96-58.
Catfish Hunter did have four top 4 finishes in the Cy Young voting, while Tiant finished in the top 6 three times and never finished higher than fourth. Tiant did finish fifth once in the MVP voting; Hunter finished sixth in the MVP in his lone Cy Young season. A bit of a wash here, it boils down to 1 Cy Young vs. 0 Cy Youngs.
You could argue that Hunter had more postseason success than Tiant, but actually the difference here is not as stark as you might think. Hunter pitched on five World Series-winning teams for the A’s and Yankees and went 9-6 in the postseason, including 5-3 in the World Series. However, Tiant was no slouch in the postseason, though he didn’t have near the opportunities Hunter had. Tiant went 3-0 in the postseason, including 2-0 in Boston’s legendary 7-game World Series loss in 1975. You can’t really punish him for that.
So, to be fair and honest, there is one big and very legitimate mitigating difference in the careers of Tiant and Hunter, and probably the biggest reason why one is in the Hall of Fame and the other is on the outside looking in. There is a certain element of tragedy to Hunter’s career which probably helped his Hall of Fame case, much like Kirby Puckett. Because if not for serious illness, Hunter could have — and likely would of — won 300 games in his career. Hunter’s career was tragically cut short in large part by diabetes (and possibly by his ALS which wasn’t diagnosed until 19 years after he retired, but may have been affecting him toward the end of his career, even he had no idea.). Hunter was forced to retire at 33 because of arm problems likely partly if not wholly caused by illness(es). By contrast, Tiant was able to pitch until he was 41 and was still pitching 200 innings a year at 37 and 38. So, Tiant had the advantage of a longer, healthier career to build up virtually identical numbers to Hunter’s.
So, having looked deeper into this thanks to Bill (I think), I would now argue that since Hunter is in the Hall of Fame, shouldn’t Tiant be, too … with the same or even better numbers, compiled during the same era in the same league? (And I also looked up Jim Bunning’s numbers … other than strikeouts, most of Tiant’s numbers are better than Bunning’s and their careers overlapped by eight seasons). I now think Tiant is another one of several players — Hodges, Allen, Oliva, Dave Parket, etc., who have been seriously overlooked by the baseball Hall of Fame.
In this survey from Australia, it was found that smokers were nearly three times as likely to develop COPD if they were exposed to their mother’s secondhand smoke as a child … if their mother smoked a pack a day or more.
On this article from MedPage Today:
“While the potential as a COPD risk factor for adult offspring has not been comprehensively documented, our study suggests that the early life exposure to maternal smoking may increase an individual’s susceptibility to the harms of personal smoking in later life,” the researchers wrote. “Identifying those most at risk might provide an opportunity for a more individualized approach to the prevention of COPD.”
“Maternal smoking adversely affects the ventilatory function of offspring, including neonates, infants, children and adolescents,” they wrote. “The idea that maternal smoking exposure might predispose to COPD in later life appears largely based on these pediatric studies, and of the few adult studies, only one examined pre-bronchodilator (BD) spirometry as a categorical outcome.”
“This study provides further evidence for mother’s smoking to influence the lung function in children when measured in middle-age,” she noted, adding that they also reinforce public health messages warning pregnant women and mothers with children in the home not to smoke.
This study just talks about smoking by mothers. It doesn’t discuss both parents. My parents smoked six packs a day between them (no exaggeration, they really did), and I worry to this day about the longterm damage done to my lungs the first 15 years of my life. However, I’ve never smoked, so I’m hoping my personal risk of developing COPD is pretty minimal.
It just shows to me how the damage done by cigarette smoking gets passed down from one generation to another, both by setting an example to smoke and by all the physical, longterm damage done to kids’ bodies. This has been going on for generation after generation for over 100 years.
This post isn’t intended to spit on smokers. I know people didn’t know better 30 or 40 years ago. At least today, the vast majority of smokers know better than to smoke around their kids. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen someone smoking around kids in the past five years.
The researchers state more study needs to be done (I hope any further study also look at the smoking by both parents).
New York joins Chicago (which just banned chewing tobacco a week ago at Wrigley and Comiskey), Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston in banning chewing tobacco at baseball stadiums — and this includes, players, managers and coaches. Chewing tobacco will be banned in San Diego, Anaheim and Oakland in 2017 as California passed a statewide ban that won’t take effect until next year. Toronto is also expected to pass a similar ban on chew.
It will be interesting to see how stringently these rules will be enforced. There’s actually been some grousing and griping about the ban in Chicago. Interestingly, Boston, San Francisco and New York all the OK from their various Major League teams before going ahead with their bans. From an ESPN.com story:
“I’m into personal freedoms,” Maddon said. “I don’t understand the point with all that. Just eradicate tobacco period if you’re going to go that route. I’m not into over-legislating the human race, so for me I’ll just have to listen and learn.”
Generally, I like Joe Maddon, but what bothers me about his argument against banning chew is the players used similar arguments against drug testing for steroids. They bitched and moaned about personal freedom over that, too. And to be clear, because this point seems to confuse a lot of people, they’re not saying players can’t chew tobacco … they just can’t chew tobacco while they’re at the ballpark. They can chew on their own time all they want.
The city and statewide bans are part of an effort to get chew out of baseball. It’s been banned for a long time at the NCAA and Minor League levels. However, it’s still allowed at the Major League level because it would take the approval of the Players’ Association to get it off the field and out of the dugouts, and the Players’ Association hasn’t shown any inclination into letting it be banned. Not all the players are happy about banning chew because of issues over personal choice, etc. It appears banning chew league-wide (and the MLB does actually want to ban it) would require it to be done as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
Chew is a big problem in baseball. Only about 7 percent of men chew tobacco (and about 1 percent of women), but various surveys have shown that as many as 30 percent of professional baseball players chew. it’s been deeply ingrained in the culture of baseball since baseball’s been around.
The push to get it out of the game gained traction with Tony Gwynn’s death a couple of years ago. Gwynn, a longtime chewer, died of salivary gland cancer. Another well-known former player and chewer, Curt Schilling, also recently had a public battle with oral cancer. Both Gwynn and Schilling blamed chew for their cancer.
The article doesn’t specifically talk about e-cigarettes, patches or nicotine gum, but says that trying to slowly wean oneself off nicotine, rather than just committing fully to a quit date and going through with it is not as effective.
From the article:
An article published March 14 in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests going “cold turkey” is linked to the highest level of long-term smoking cessation success—smokers in the study who quit abruptly were 25 percent more likely to stop smoking completely over the long term.
The study involved 697 adult smokers whose primary end goal was to become a nonsmoker; some would try to quit abruptly and the other half would try to stop smoking gradually. (Study participants were randomly assigned to one of the two groups.) After receiving counseling from a nurse, study participants in the abrupt cessation group selected a quit date. Participants in the gradual smoking cessation group arranged to reduce their smoking by 75 percent over the course of two weeks prior to the quit date they selected, also after counseling with a nurse. All study participants in both groups received nicotine therapies such as patches, lozenges and other products to help curb cigarette cravings.
The researchers found that by the fourth week, 39.2 percent of gradual cessation group abstained from cigarettes versus 49 percent of those who went cold turkey. At six months, 15.5 percent of the participants in the gradual cessation group had completely stopped smoking compared with 22 percent of those who quit right away.
Previous research published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology suggests gradual cessation isn’t very effective because people who choose to slowly wean themselves off nicotine may be tempted to prolong smoking a little longer and drag out the process of quitting. Another study in Addiction finds that in order for gradual cessation programs to work, the motivation to quit actually really needs to exist; smokers who select this type of plan may not be completely committed to giving up cigarettes.
Twenty-two percent after six months sounds pretty grim, but having known so many people who have tried to quit smoking, I’m not surprised at that figure. It usually takes two, three, four or more attempts to quit to finally succeed. I think my brother made at least half a dozen attempts and failed repeatedly until he finally managed to quit (smokefree for about 18 months now).
Again, this study doesn’t talk about the effectiveness of gum, patches and e-cigs (smokers can ratchet down the nicotine intake with e-cigs), but I don’t doubt the results one bit. Ultimately, to quit, you simply have to get off the nicotine and stay off it, for weeks or months, before the cravings go away. This is one reason, despite the reams and reams of anecdotal evidence I’ve read online about e-cigs, (which I actually respect), that I remain skeptical of e-cigs’ effectiveness in getting people off cigarettes. Because e-cigs are not getting people off the nicotine.
Again, I believe there is no one right way to quit cigarettes — what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another person. Whatever it takes. But, it appears simply setting a date and going “cold turkey” is the most effective way, at least according to this study.
From purely an SEO standpoint, I know I’m supposed to break out these stories into separate posts, but that’s too much of a pain in the ass, so I’m compiling some legislative updates into one post because I’m feeling lazy.
First off, a major cigarettes tax increase in Louisiana.
Louisiana raises cigarette taxes
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards just signed a bill raising Louisiana’s cigarette tax a tiny bit from 88 cents a pack to $1.08 a pack. That still leaves Louisiana with one of the lowest cigarette taxes in the U.S. This was done partly out of pure, sheer, unadultered desperation after 8 years of Republican Bobby Jindal’s fiscal mismanagement left the state of Louisiana utterly broke. I hate to bring politics onto the lounge, but Jesus, between Schwarzenegger, Brownbeck, Scott Walker and Jindal, have voters not figured out that Republicans simply cannot govern responsibly? Poor Louisiana, which has never gotten over the fiscal impact of Hurricane Katrina, is painfully broke and looking at all kinds of tax increases just to keep basic state services running.
I don’t get it, why do people keep voting for Republicans when they’ve shown time and again they simply … cannot … govern … or manage a budget responsibly, particularly at the state level. Again, I try to keep partisan politics out of the Lounge, but I honestly don’t get this.
This tax is expected to add $230 million to state coffers over the next five years, which will help a little.
The average cigarette tax in the U.S. is about $1.60 a pack, so Louisiana is still well below the national average.
Wales to ban e-cig use indoors
More and more places are banning e-cigarette use indoors, including Wales, which is set to pass a law banning them inside.
I didn’t mind e-cigs indoors for a long time. Their vapour doesn’t smell nor until I started reading all the stories about the @#$%ing formaldehyde and diactyl in e-cigarette vapour and now I don’t care if it isn’t annoying or irritating, I don’t want to ingest it in any way, shape or form. Not until MORE IS KNOWN about just how dangerous that vapour might be. Now, whenever I’m near someone using an e-cig indoors, I find myself holding my breath or leaning away from them. What it comes down to is … I … simply … do … not … trust … that … vapour. No offence.
(Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford) has not dismissed claims that e-cigarettes may help people quit smoking.
He added: “The Bill does not prevent the use of e-cigarettes to help people stop smoking if they believe they will help them. Wherever you can smoke a cigarette you will be able to use an e-cigarette.”
Vermont to ban e-cig use indoors
Vermont is set to pass a bill that would ban e-cig use indoors and would put restrictions on the sales of e-cig products to keep them out of the hands of minors … ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION, FDA?
E-cigs would have to be kept out of sight in stores or kept in a locked container. They would also be banned in bars and restaurants. I haven’t kept track of how many states are banning them indoors, but this is a growing tide.
This is kind of a follow-up to my earlier posts about “Bridge of Spies.” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ” I finally broke down and went to see “Deadpool” and it was A) ridiculously funny, B) the first movie I’ve ever liked Ryan Reynolds in and C) incredibly violent and incredibly crude — it had about the harshest language this side of “The Big Lebowski.” It even had some good sex scenes.
Which means, this is what they call a “hard R” movie. And it was frankly an extremely hard “R” rating. This was a movie that was determined from the get-go to be R-rated, they didn’t try to play coy at all with trying to get a PG-13 rating. And it didn’t have a single, solitary smoking scene in it. Not one cigarette. Not even a cigar or a pipe. Wow, that’s just amazing. All kinds of bad, rough guys with bad, rough language, hanging out in bars and other sordid environs and not a single cigarette or cigar was to be found.
What’s interesting about this is Disney issued an edict about a year ago that there would be no more smoking scenes in any of its films, and that includes Marvel films, which Disney owns, and this even includes Wolverine, Nick Fury or Thaddeus Ross, all of whom are cigar-chompers (Love to see if Disney actually follows through with this in the next Wolverine film.) Now, this was a Marvel film, but it was also a 20th Century Fox-produced film. Not sure how this works, honestly. Marvel is still a Disney-owned subsidiary, but it was produced by Fox. Maybe the Disney edict still stands for its Marvel properties no matter what studio actually makes the film.
Anyway, through all the F-bombs and jokes about genitalia and decapitations and brain splatter, not a single cigarette or cigar. I might be the only person in America who even noticed this. So help me, I thought that was amazing. And tells me we are slowly, slowly, slowly winning the fight to rid Hollywood of its addiction to smoking. Seriously, I half-expected Deadpool to make a joke at some point about the lack of cigarettes in the movie.
Chicago is the latest city to consider a ban on chewing tobacco at all sports facilities, and that includes Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park (I suppose Soldier Field, too). That also includes players, managers and coaches.
Chicago will be joining Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the entire state of California (more on that below) in banning chew at ballparks. New York and Toronto are also considering bans on chew at big league parks and both the Mets and Yankees support the ban, so I don’t expect any roadbumps.
A Chicago City Council committee approved the ban last week, which will be voted on by the full Council sometime this week, possibly Wednesday. The ban would take effect immediately. That would bring the total of Major League ballparks with chewing tobacco bans to nine by 2017.
Cities are pushing forward with these bans in large part because Major League Baseball is seriously dragging its feet in banning chew on the field and in the dugouts. Actually, to be fair, the league itself actually does want to impose a ban, but the Players’ Association are actually holding it up. It will likely require the association’s approval through the collective bargaining process.
The push for bans began after MLB Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, a longtime chewer, died of pituitary gland cancer. Longtime chewer Curt Schilling also had a recent public battle with oral cancer.
From a Chicago Tribune story:
“Smokeless tobacco destroys the mouth, and the younger you start, the more destruction that’s there and the longer you put cancer-causing chemicals in your mouth, the greater the risk,” Dr. Larry Williams of the Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine told aldermen. “Our young people are going to emulate what they see and what they watch. I commend you for this wonderful opportunity to get it off the TV screen.”
For some mystifying reason, chewing tobacco is deeply entrenched in the culture of baseball. No one knows why. It just is. Like a damned tick. About 7 percent of adult males chew tobacco, but according to several surveys, about 30 percent of baseball players chew.
Chew is already banned at the high school, Minor League and NCAA levels.
There’s a pretty good question about how it will be enforced. Are cops really going to be on the field, handing out tickets to multi-millionaire ballplayers who are pretty used to doing whatever they want. The hope is that through peer pressure, players will do the right thing and put that crap away without resorting to that.
From the Tribune:
“It’s a good question as to how it will be enforced,” (U.S. Senator) Dick Durbin responded. “But I think when the word is out and about and the media can follow what players are doing, that there will be some attention paid to it, and I think that the fact that it is the law, and the fact that there will be peer pressure and observation of what is done, will finally lead us to change.”
Durbin acknowledged “there may be some rough patches at the startup, but ultimately I believe it’s going to be a success, and it’s going to be for the benefit of the ballplayers too.”
Durbin has been lobbying Chicago to impose a ban. His father died of lung cancer when he was a college sophomore.
California ban on chew at ballparks goes in effect in 2017
I can’t believe I totally missed this story. I am not omnipotent, I guess. This is from October of last year. I’m six months late on this story.
I was aware there was a bill in the works in the California State Legislature to ban chewing tobacco at all ballparks in the state, including Major League parks in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Diego. (San Francisco and L.A. have already done it, of course).
Well, the bill was actually signed into law in October 2015. However, it doesn’t take effect until 2017 and apparently doesn’t actually have an enforcement mechanism. Teams will be expected to police their players themselves.
Christian Zwicky, a former Southern California Babe Ruth League most valuable player who grew up watching the Los Angeles Dodgers play and says he never cared for seeing all that tobacco chewing and the spitting of tobacco juice that follows.
It didn’t influence him to take up the practice, the 22-year-old college student says, but he can see how it might have affected others.
“I understand the sentiment there,” said Zwicky who adds he’s not a big fan of government regulation but supports this law. “You don’t want these people that kids look up to using these products that could influence children in a negative way.”
Madison Bumgarner, a San Francisco Giants pitcher (and damned good one) and Giants manager Bruce Bochy, have both come out in support of the ban in San Francisco. And they’re both chewers. From the CSM:
Last year’s World Series MVP, San Francisco Giant’s pitching ace Madison Bumgarner, also chews tobacco but told The Associated Press earlier this year he planned to quit after San Francisco became the first city in the nation to adopt a ban. That one, like the statewide provision, also takes effect next year.
“I’ll be all right. I can quit,” Bumgarner said in August. “I quit every once in a while for a little while to make sure I can do it.”
“It’s a tough deal for some of these players who have grown up playing with it and there are so many triggers in the game,” San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the AP earlier this year.
“I certainly don’t endorse it,” said Bochy, an on-and-off-again user for decades. “With my two sons, the one thing I asked them is don’t ever start dipping.”
Hah, I actually found a story in my archives from nearly a year ago saying that the Food and Drug Administration was expected to issue e-cigarette regulations the following week. That was 10 months ago.
The Los Angeles Times published an absolutely scathing editorial ripping on the FDA and the White House for delaying implementing final regulations on e-cigarettes. The FDA supposedly finalized its regulations in October after receiving 135,000 comments and sent them to the White House Office of Budget and Management in October, where they have been sitting for five months.
In the L.A. Times’ words: “And there the proposal sits while the fast-growing e-cigarette industry operates virtually unchecked.”
The Times wrote the editorial in response to the apparently growing problem of e-cigarettes catching on fire or exploding. You can find a new story on some e-cig fire or explosion on virtually a weekly basis. However, that’s not really the biggest issue with them. That’s still pretty rare.
To quote from the editorial:
At the moment, federal regulators can do little more than shake their fists impotently at faulty electronic cigarettes manufacturers, most of whom are in China. That’s because e-cigarettes are considered tobacco products, and thus fall under the authority of the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has yet to start cracking down despite the meteoric growth of “vaping,” as the process of using an e-cigarette to inhale nicotine is known.
While researchers haven’t yet settled the question of whether vaping is as harmful as smoking, we do know e-cigarette users don’t breathe in the same kind of carcinogenic smoke and tar that conventional cigarette smokers do. That’s good, but it doesn’t make vaping a benign pastime. No matter how you package it, nicotine is an addictive chemical linked to cardiovascular disease.
The vaping liquids have also been found to contain other chemicals such as Diacetyl, a flavoring associated with a terrifying illness called “Popcorn lung.” But until the new regulations kick in and require the disclosure of all chemicals in those liquids, there’s no way for consumers to know what other substances they may be inhaling.
The L.A. Times is right. It has been FOUR years since the FDA starting working on e-cigarette regulations. Four years during which the use of e-cigs has exploded (no pun intended) among teenagers. This has taken far too long. And I fear the regulations that are finalized are going to be really weak and won’t address e-cig marketing or online sales to teenagers.