Pallone asks World Series teams to ban chewing tobacco

The chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health asked the heads of the World Series teams on Monday to ban the use of chewing tobacco on the field and in the dugout during this year's World Series, which begins Wednesday

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) made the request in letters to the presidents of the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants. Pallone held a hearing in April to examine the effects on youth of smokeless tobacco use by MLB players.

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The most recent survey results, Pallone said, show 15 percent of high-school students are using these products. An analysis by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that in just one game of the 2004 World Series, players were observed on television using smokeless tobacco for a total of more than nine minutes — the equivalent of $6.4 million worth of free advertising.

"The ban of smokeless tobacco while players are in uniform would be a great service to this country and the health of its citizens. Baseball has long been the American pastime, and has provided generations of inspiration for American youth, it is time that MLB continues this tradition of excellence and takes steps towards a healthier American future."

College and minor leagues have already banned chewing tobacco, which has been linked to oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer.