LA Times: City Council votes to eject smokeless tobacco from Dodger Stadium, other venues

City Council approves ordinance to ban use of smokeless tobacco at sports venues and City parks. 

Tired of watching baseball players spit tobacco all over the dirt or pristine grass (or their uniforms) at Dodger Stadium?

Well, apparently so is the Los Angeles City Council.

The council voted Tuesday morning to approve an ordinance banning the use of smokeless tobacco products at all baseball fields and other sports venues in the city. The L.A. council vote, in sports vernacular, was a blowout: The motion won 14-0. In a statement, the council said the ordinance was passed “both to set the right example for America’s youth and for the health of the players.”

The motion to ban the use of smokeless tobacco products was introduced in June by Councilman Jose Huizar, with the support of several other council members including David Ryu, Mitch O’Farrell and Paul Koretz. A motion calling for the city attorney to draft the ordinance was passed in September. The Dodgers have previously expressed support for the move, which will take effect before the 2016 baseball season.

"It is our great hope that this leads to other cities, Major League Baseball and the great players we all admire to follow suit and do what is right for the health of the players, fans and the good of the game,” Huizar said after Tuesday’s vote. Boston and San Francisco have already outlawed smokeless tobacco from their professional baseball stadiums.

Last year, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed an ordinance eliminating smokeless tobacco at the city's athletic fields, making it the first city in the nation to enact such a restriction.

Huizar and supporters of the L.A. ordinance cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that found that high school athletes use smokeless tobacco at nearly twice the rate of non-athletes. The report also found that smokeless tobacco use among athletes increased from 2001 to 2013 from 10% to 11.1%, even as smoking rates dropped.

Tuesday’s vote was considered a victory for the “Knock Tobacco Out of the Park” campaign, which promotes tobacco-free baseball and reducing smokeless tobacco use among children.

Written by Hector Becerra. Brittny Mejia and Emily Alpert Reyes also contributed to the report.

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