A bill that bans the use of smokeless tobacco at New York City sporting events has passed, making it illegal to use any form of smokeless tobacco at ticketed events in the five boroughs. The legislation was passed today by a vote of 44-3.
The Mets had recently backed the bill, publicly stating their desire to keep children from being exposed to smokeless tobacco while at sporting events.
Manhattan councilman Corey Johnson recently shared his rationale for sponsoring the bill with the Daily News:
"I couldn’t imagine us being OK as a city or society as a whole with a baseball player standing in left field smoking a cigarette while the game was going on, on national television," said Johnson, chair of the Council health committee. "But it seems to be, just because of culturally what has existed for a long time, it’s OK for professional athletes to stand in left field or in the dugout and chew wads of smokeless tobacco."
Many baseball players, past and current, have used smokeless tobacco; Tony Gwynn, who died of cancer of the salivary glands in 2014, and Curt Schilling, who battled oral cancer, were both known to use chewing tobacco.
New York isn't the first major city to ban smokeless tobacco; Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have all banned smokeless tobacco, while Chicago will implement a ban by the All-Star break.