City Council member wants smokeless tobacco out of L.A. baseball

Los Angeles could throw out smokeless tobacco at baseball venues in the city

A Los Angeles City Council member wants the city to throw out smokeless tobacco use in baseball venues, as San Francisco did last month.

Councilman Jose Huizar will announce plans Tuesday morning to introduce legislation that would eliminate smokeless tobacco use -- by players and spectators alike -- at all baseball venues in the city.

The motion would begin the process of directing the city attorney to craft an ordinance that would ban smokeless tobacco use anywhere organized baseball is played in the city of Los Angeles, including Dodger Stadium. 

“It’s about protecting the health of our players and the health of our kids,” Huizar said. “America has a great pastime, but chewing smokeless tobacco shouldn’t be part of that.”

It could take three to six months before the City Council receives a final ordinance to vote on, Huizar said.

Huizar will be joined at City Hall by local and state health officials, including Paul Simon, director of the L.A. County Public Health Department's division of chronic disease and injury prevention, and Kevin O'Flaherty of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Last month, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed an ordinance that banned the use of smokeless tobacco at all sporting venues in the city. The ordinance, making San Francisco the first city in the nation to enact such a restriction, takes effect Jan. 1.

Although his proposal would apply only to organized baseball venues, Huizar said there is a possibility that it could be extended to cover any sports venue, depending on how discussions go.

“If we have San Francisco and then the city of L.A. take similar steps with respect to curtailing the use of smokeless tobacco, hopefully the state of California will take action,” Huizar said.

Major League Baseball banned smokeless tobacco in the minor leagues more than two decades ago, but it has remained in use at the major-league level. The league reportedly pushed the MLB Players Assn. to agree to a ban during contract negotiations in 2011, but the union refused.

Staff writer Austin Knoblauch contributed to this report. 

 

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

10:46 a.m.: This story has been updated with comments from Councilman Jose Huizar.

The story was originally posted at 9:43 a.m.

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