Groups Band Together to Ban Baseball Tobacco

It's major league baseball's opening day and around the country teams will again be part of a great American tradition. Not all of baseball's traditions, though, are thought to be good. As Rod Rice reports there's a concerted effort to ban tobacco use by players, managers, coaches and staff.

Spearheading the drive is the group "Knock Tobacco Out of the Park", an amalgamation of ten major medical and public health groups, including "Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Danny McGoldrick is that group’s vice president.

"We're asking the owners and the players in their collective bargaining negotiations, to adopt this ban not only for the health of the players, but particularly, for the example that baseball payers set for our kids."

Baseball prohibited tobacco in the minor leagues 18-years ago. The NCAA and National Hockey League also ban it, but major league baseball still does not. Smokeless tobacco is a particular problem, says McGoldrick.

"About a third of major league players use smokeless tobacco, and it's a dangerous addictive product that causes cancer and other illnesses.  Tony Gwynn just went through a terrible ordeal with mouth cancer that he attributes to his long time use of smokeless tobacco."

The Centers for Disease Control says that smokeless tobacco contains 28 known carcinogens.  You can get more information on this effort online at tobacco-free-baseball-dot-org.

Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...