Well, I guess this was inevitable; though I was surprised to see it today. A new group has been formed, with snazzy website and everything to urge Major League Baseball to ban chew from clubhouses and playing fields. I’ll be keeping an eye on this site.
The group, called TobaccoFreeBaseball.org, the brainchild of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, one of the more deliciously assertive groups out there fighting Big Tobacco. (The Forces.org types really hate Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Must mean they’re doing a good job. Anything that gets that crowd’s dander up is OK by me.)
Here is their official announcement of their new campaign.
A short excerpt from their announcement:
Several news stories have examined the difficulty players and coaches have in breaking their addiction. Among those who have spoken about the challenge of quitting are Strasburg, American League Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton and Bruce Bochy, manager of the World Champion San Francisco Giants. Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn’s recent cancer diagnosis and his public comments attributing his disease to years of chewing tobacco have underscored the health threat from smokeless tobacco.
Tobacco use was banned in baseball’s minor leagues in 1993. The NCAA and the National Hockey League have instituted prohibitions on tobacco use. Major League Baseball is lagging behind.
Meanwhile, smokeless tobacco use among high school boys is spiking – there has been a 36 percent increase since 2003 and 15 percent of high school boys currently use smokeless tobacco, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
They also forgot Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who has tried to quit chew, but hasn’t been able to so far.