It isn’t a full-fledged ban, but baseball is taking action on chewing tobacco.
Anti-tobacco advocates — and several Congressmen and U.S. Senators — have been pushing for months to have chew banned by Major League Baseball. It would mean no chew on the field, or during games. Before you laugh, that rule has been in effect in Minor League Baseball for 15 years. (And smoking during games in the dugout is banned by MLB.).
The reason for this is plenty of kids get to watch their favourite players chewing during games and that helps encourage them to take up the habit.
Well, advocates won a partial victory. During negotiations between the players’ union and MLB, the union did agree to limitations on chewing tobacco. No chewing tobacco tins on the field in players’ pockets and players cannot be seen with chew in their cheek during television interviews.
Not everyone is happy with the agreement.
“Baseball players are idols to millions of youth, and they should strive to be healthy role models. The failure to ban smokeless tobacco is bad for the health of the players and worse for the kids who emulate them,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
“The fact is that smokeless tobacco use by baseball players will still appear on television screens across the United States,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J.
This is a compromise, not exactly what we were looking for, but at least it’s a first step. The players’ union was fighting a tobacco ban tooth and nail. Perhaps this will lead to an eventual ban on tobacco chew in ballparks. Players can chew if they want on their own time, but when they are in an MLB, they are on the clock, and there aren’t very many workplaces that would allow you to chew on the job.
The other big news from the agreement is that players will now be tested for HGH, human growth hormone.