Dem calls on MLB to ban chewing tobacco

Dem calls on MLB to ban chewing tobacco
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Professional baseball players should be prohibited from using chewing tobacco at the ballpark, one lawmaker says.

As baseball fans celebrate Opening Day, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) is calling on Major League Baseball (MLB) to ban the use of chewing tobacco on the field and in the dugout.

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Not only would a ban protect professional baseball players from the dangers of chewing tobacco, it would also prevent millions of impressionable young athletes from picking up the habit, Pallone says.

“Baseball players have long been seen both on the field and in the dugout chewing tobacco,” Pallone wrote Monday in letters to MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred and Tony Clark, executive director of the players association.

“These players are role models and their behavior and habits trickle down to youth players,” he added.

The MLB has taken steps to restrict the use of chewing tobacco by players, but it has yet to completely ban the substance.

Five cities — Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York — will prohibit the use of chewing tobacco at ballparks this season.

MLB star Tony Gwynn died from cancer in 2014 that he said was caused by his use of chewing tobacco. Pitcher Curt Schilling, who is now a broadcaster, sought treatment for cancer that he said was caused by chewing tobacco.

Pallone has been calling for baseball to ban chewing tobacco since 2010. 

"Professional baseball players have long been seen both on the field and in the dugout chewing tobacco," Pallone wrote. "This public use amounts to free advertising for the tobacco industry and lends itself to public acceptance of the use of smokeless tobacco.

"Without a complete ban, smokeless tobacco will continue to receive free advertising from America's pastime and use of these products will continue to be seen as an acceptable part of the game by fans both young and old."