Tag Archives: San Francisco

San Francisco ban on flavoured tobacco, e-cig products goes to ballot

Candy-flavoured e-cig products.

The city of San Francisco a while ago banned all sweet-flavoured tobacco products. This included menthol cigarettes, Swisher sweet cigars and candy-flavoured e-cigs.

A group challenged the ban and gathered enough signatures to put the issue on a ballot, asking that this ban be repealed. This movement is called, “Let’s Be Real, San Francisco.”

People behind the repeal are mostly small grocers –the Arab American Grocers Association, a number of vaping outlets and (of course) the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (which is probably funded by Big Tobacco)

According to CBS:

Funded almost entirely by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the committee was able to collect almost $700,000 in contributions and collect just under 20,000 valid signatures in barely a month after the ordinance was signed in early July..

Yeah … so my old pal, RJR is really behind this, not the Arab American Grocers Association.

Anyway, the Board of Supervisors for San Francisco had the opportunity to repeal their decision, but declined, meaning the whole issue will go to a public vote.

The issue could go to a vote by June 2018. Now, looking at how Big Tobacco just got their ass kicked in California, I’m cautiously optimistic that this measure will fail (which means the ban will stay in place).

Flavoured tobacco products is a pet peeve of mine because it’s fairly blatant at times these products are marketed to help get teens hooked on tobacco. Candy-flavoured cigarettes have been banned for years, but not menthols (which are popular with black smokers) and not candy-flavoured e-cig products. The e-cig issue is near and dear to me because the use of e-cigs by teens has skyrocketed in the past five or six years, and it pisses me off to see cherry-flavoured, orange-flavoured and raspberry-flavoured liquid nicotine being sold to teenagers at minimarts. When the FDA began regulating e-cigs, the agency pointedly avoided dealing with the issue of candy-flavoured e-cig products. Maybe San Francisco can lead the way.

 

 

New York Times takes on chewing tobacco in baseball

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I’ve written extensively about this in the past year — about the push to get chew out of baseball. The New York Times just published a story about, joining other major newspapers like the Los Angeles Times in exploring the stubborn tradition of chewing tobacco in baseball.

Chewing tobacco is for whatever reason deeply entrenched in the culture of baseball. Baseball player chew at a much higher rate than the general population. According to the Professional Baseball Trainers Association, one-third of ballplayers chew tobacco, down from about half a few years ago. However, that’s still considerably higher than the general population of adult men, of which only about 6 percent chew. (Virtually no women chew for whatever reason, probably because it’s so gross.).

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AP photo

Tony Gwynn’s death last year of salivary gland cancer and Curt Schilling’s battle with oral cancer have sparked the most recent debate about chew in baseball. Chew is already banned on the field and in the dugouts in the NCAA and Minor League Baseball. San Francisco banned all tobacco chewing in AT&T Park (even including players and coaches) beginning next year and a bill has been introduced in the California State Assembly to ban chewing tobacco in all ballparks in California (this would affect the A’s, Dodgers, Padres and Angels, as well as visiting teams). We’re talking chew on the field or in the dugout; they can’t ban players from chewing on their own time.

Though chew has been banned in the Minor Leagues and NCAA for many years now, it’s still allowed in Major League Baseball (Though, get this, players are banned from chewing tobacco while conducting television interviews.). It would take an agreement with the Player’s Association through the collective bargaining process to get chew off the field and the dugouts.

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Getty image

The New York Times went to San Francisco to talk to Giants’ players and coaches. Pitcher Jake Peavey said players won’t be able to stop chewing because it’s so addictive and will probably have to pay a lot of fines. Madison Bumgarner, who earlier came out in favour of the law, is a “dipper” and he said he could quit. Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia chews and said he would follow the law and not chew while playing in San Francisco (or California if the state passes a law.).

From the article:

Andrew Susac, the Giants’ backup catcher, receives emails from his mother relaying horror stories about people who have had parts of their jaw removed because of the effects of tobacco use. Susac tried gum and sunflower seeds as alternatives, but they did not suffice, he said. He tried a nontobacco imitation, but that did not work, either. He tried using pouches of coffee grinds, but they made him jittery.

Susac guessed that he dipped five times a day during the season, including in the morning, after lunch, on the bench during a game, and on his ride home. At another point during the day, whenever he gets an urge, he dips once more.

“Half the time I do it, I don’t have a real reason to,” Susac said. “It’s part of the game, I feel like. You come to the field, get bored or whatever, and just throw in a dip.”

One of the San Francisco County Supervisors who passed the ordinance, Mark Farrell, said he has actually seen youth coaches chewing tobacco in front of players.

From the article:

Mark Farrell, the member of the Board of Supervisors who sponsored the ordinance, started using tobacco while he played college baseball at Loyola Marymount. In his freshman year, he said, he was one of only two players on the team who did not. He kept the habit through law school and has since quit. But now, raising two boys, he has seen youth coaches using tobacco in front of children.

“This almost becomes a self-enforcing mechanism, just by passing this,” Farrell said. “Coaches don’t want to be out on our park fields proactively breaking the law in front of parents. Players don’t want to be on the field, on television, blatantly breaking the law.”

Madison Bumgarner, Bruce Bochy both support ban on chewing tobacco at AT&T Park

Bumgarner, Bochy

Surprised me a bit that these two would step into this issue, but I thought it was great. The city of San Francisco banned chewing tobacco recently at all sporting venues (It won’t actually take effect until Jan. 1, 2016), including at the Giants’ stadium, AT&T Park. This means that not only fans can’t chew in the park, but players can’t either.

World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner and manager Bruce Bochy expressed their support for the move last week.

From a Los Angeles Times article:

Giants Manager Bruce Bochy applauded the decision: “It’s a step in the right direction,” he told the team’s website. “I think it can be a good thing. It’s going to be hard to enforce. It’s a tough habit to break.”

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner also supported the law. “Hopefully it will be a positive thing for us players. It’s not an easy thing to stop doing, but I support the city.”

There is also a bill winding its way through the California Assembly to ban chewing tobacco at all ballparks in the state, which would include AT&T, Dodger Stadium, Petco in San Diego, the Oakland Coliseum and the L.A. Angels’ stadium.

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AT&T Park (AP photo)

Major League Baseball is under increasing pressure to ban chewing tobacco in all ballparks, especially since the death of Tony Gwynn from salivary gland cancer (Tony blamed chew for his death and another high-profile player, Curt Schilling, recently underwent treatment for oral cancer which he also blamed on chewing tobacco.). For some mysterious reason, there is a culture of chew deeply embedded in baseball culture. Not only have quite a few ballplayers over the years died of oral or throat cancer (Babe Ruth is the most well-known), but it sets a bad example for teenage baseball players.

However, MLB can’t simply ban chew by players on the field without the approval of the Players’ Association. A chewing tobacco ban is expected to be one of the topics of negotiation between MLB and the Players’ Association in their next contract.

Chew is already banned in all minor league and NCAA baseball parks, so it’s not like there isn’t any precedent.

 

Follow-up: San Francisco may ban chewing tobacco at AT&T Park

 

Back Camera

I wrote about this a day or two ago — a bill has been proposed to ban chewing tobacco both on the field and in the stands of all California ballparks, including Major League ballparks.

Now, while such a bill is likely a longshot to pass, here is an ordinance that might have a better chance. In addition to the statewide bill, there has also been an ordinance proposed to ban chewing tobacco at ballparks within the city and county of San Francisco. Well, there’s one major ballpark in the city — AT&T Park, home to the San Francisco Giants.

 

SFGate interviewed several players about the proposal, who said it would be difficult to enforce.

From the article:

Also in Arizona, Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who quit chewing tobacco with the help of a hypnotherapist, said: “To force a ban, that’s going to be difficult. I’ll say that. (Quitting) is something you have to want to do. I know baseball is doing a great job of trying to keep these guys from doing chewing or dipping. I’m guilty. It’s part of the the game I grew up with.”

The County Supervisor behind the proposal, Mark Farrell, said he has spken with Major League Baseball and the Giants about the idea, and said he’s “not ruling out” exemption for AT&T Park if an agreement cant be reached with the Player’s Association.

Major League Baseball has publicly stated that it is interested in banning chew at ballparks (it is already banned in Minor League parks and by the NCAA), but that it would require an agreement with the Players’ Association. Chew, which for some mystifying reason is deeply ingrained in the game of baseball, is expected to be discussed as part of the next collective bargaining agreement in 2016.