Boston mayor proposes smokeless tobacco ban at all city ballparks
Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh has proposed a ban on smokeless tobacco products at the city's ballparks and other professional and amateur athletic venues, according to the Associated Press.
Walsh was joined by former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling when he announced his proposal on Wednesday. Schilling is a survivor of mouth cancer, a disease he attributes getting due to his addiction to chewing tobacco during his baseball career.
“Kids shouldn't have to watch their role models using tobacco, either at a neighborhood park or on TV,” Walsh said. “Ballfields are places for mentoring and healthy development. They're no place for cancer-causing substances.”
If approved by city council, Walsh's proposal would apply to all professional, collegiate, high school or organized amateur sporting events in Boston, according to the AP. It would go into effect on April 1, 2016.
Schilling said he believes the proposal would likely meet initial resistance from MLB players but feels they would accept the rule over time.
“This is about our kids,” Schilling said. “We have to accept the responsibility that we impact the decisions and the choices that they make.”
The Boston Red Sox supported Walsh's proposal in a team statement, according to the AP.
San Francisco recently became the first city to ban all smokeless tobacco from its public athletic fields, effective Jan. 1, 2016.
MLB has opposed an official ban on tobacco use in its stadiums, though the substance has been banned in the minor leagues since 1993.
- Molly Geary