Politics

LA moves to strike smokeless tobacco out of ballparks

Fans received one Clayton Kershaw bobblehead at Dodger Stadium during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, April 24, 2014.
Fans received one Clayton Kershaw bobblehead at Dodger Stadium during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, April 24, 2014.
Todd Johnson/ KPCC

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The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a ban on the use of smokeless tobacco in sports venues across the city Tuesday, including Dodger Stadium.

The prohibition is aimed specifically at baseball, where smokeless tobacco has been as synonymous with the game as the seventh inning stretch. The ordinance will be in effect across all sports venues including little league games and amateur and professional games and it will apply to players, fan and anyone in the venue.

Los Angeles becomes the third city to pass a measure prohibiting smokeless tobacco. San Francisco approved a measure last year and Boston did so last week. All three ordinances are expected to be in place by the start of the 2016 baseball season. 

City officials and those behind the nationwide effort say they are trying to decrease the use of smokeless tobacco among kids and young athletes.

“Smokeless tobacco use in the great American pastime is way past its time," said City Councilman Jose Huizar, who introduced the measure. "The time to act is now to save others, particularly our young people, from an extremely addictive and potentially deadly product."

The CDC reported last week that high school athletes use smokeless tobacco at twice the rate as non-athletes. Smoking tobacco has been found to lead to nicotine addiction and result in a variety of cancers and other health problems, according to health experts.

The Dodger organization is in support of the ban and released the following statement:

“Major League Baseball has long supported a ban of smokeless tobacco at the Major League level and the Los Angeles Dodgers fully support the Los Angeles City Tobacco ordinance and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.” 

The measure approved Tuesday instructs city attorneys to draft the language of the ordinance for council review.