MLB LEADS “SMOKELESS TOBACCO” BAN
By: Mario GoLuza
When thinking baseball we picture home-runs, fielding, bats, gloves, and of course, spitting (tobacco). Recently the MLB has decided to take an active approach against encouraging young people from using smokeless tobacco products by banning them from major league parks. What does this mean?
The MLBPA has long resisted a league-wide ban on smokeless tobacco due to an estimated 33 percent of MLB players using the products. However, when the Yankees and Astros took the field in the Bronx last night, the players along with the fans, were the first to experience New York’s new law implemented by NY mayor Bill de Blasio banning all smokeless tobacco products at all sports and recreational areas. Although this was the first regular season game this law has pertained to, cities such as San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles have already passed the law, but neither team has yet to play a home game this season. Further, Chicago’s City Council is expected to approve and put the ban in effect midseason along with the State of California aiming for 2017 implementation.
This law has been considered for years but up until MLB Hall Of Famer Tony Gwynn and All-Star Curt Schilling attributed their diagnoses of oral cancer to smokeless tobacco, this law was never taken seriously. Law enforcement still hasn’t decided what fines, if any, will be enforced, but the MLB’s main concern seems to be deterring young people from using smokeless tobacco products.
Is this law necessary?
Personally, if people (especially players) want to smoke or chew, I believe it’s their choice. Just like drinking alcohol, it’s up to each individual to decide whether they want to harm their bodies with substances. These laws enacted by a small group of individuals seem to put too much power in the hands of very few people that are not representative of the general populace. But, until more people speak up for their rights, like the MLBPA is in the process of doing, these laws will likely continue to be enacted until no rights are remain.