NJ congressman: Baseball players should give up chewing tobacco
New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone says he is seeking a chewing tobacco ban in Major League Baseball.
Pallone says he wants Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association to get together on the same page to ban "chew," which the Centers for Disease Control says contains at least 28 carcinogenic chemicals.
He says the biggest problem is cancer — cancer of the saliva glands, cancer of the mouth, cancer of the throat, pancreatic cancer. "Smokeless tobacco has all been linked to those types of cancers," Pallone said.
Pallone wants the players to lead by example and turn away from using it at ballparks and in dugouts.
"The kids feel that this is part of the culture of baseball."
He says major league players are in the long process of negotiating a new contract with MLB, so it is the perfect time to elicit an agreement from players to stop using smokeless tobacco at games.
"The incidence of teenagers using chewing tobacco has been on the rise in the past few years, and it is pretty clear that it is because they see players as role models," Pallone said. "The players are allowed, at the game, in the dugout, on TV. (Young fans) see them."
According to congressman Pallone, "we tell teenagers and students that it is bad for you. But they never see the bad consequences. They do not see the players 10 or 15 years later when they are in the hospital or under treatment and then have all of these problems and cancer."
Pallone says he is not looking to ban people from chewing tobacco — "we just think that in the case of baseball players, it is just having a very negative impact. We are not introducing legislation. This is an effort to get the Major League Baseball Association and the Major League Players Association to ban this from the game."
He says a number of cities and ballparks have already banned smokeless tobacco.
"About a third of the cities in the country, most notably New York, that have passed local ordinances. So you cannot use smokeless tobacco at Yankee Stadium at the Yankees or Mets home games."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5
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