The San Francisco Medical Society joined San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell (District 2) to introduce a legislation to eliminate the use of all tobacco products—including smokeless tobacco—at all baseball venues and city athletic fields in San Francisco. A similar statewide measure was slated to be introduced in Sacramento by Richmond Assemblyman Tony Thurmond.
The SFMS and the California Medical Association, representing more than 40,000 California physicians, will be working closely with the “Knock Tobacco Out of the Park” campaign to promote tobacco-free baseball and provide visibility to the issue of smokeless tobacco in baseball.
Smokeless tobacco is a dangerous, addictive product that contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals. SFMS President Roger Eng, MD stated, "Chewing tobacco is a dangerous substance that has no place near our nation’s children and no place in our national pasttime.”
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the Department of Health and Human Services′ National Toxicology Program have concluded that smokeless tobacco is a known human carcinogen. IARC has concluded that smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer and pancreatic cancer. Smokeless tobacco use is also associated with pre-cancerous lesions in the mouth or leukoplakia, gum recession and disease of the gums, and tooth decay.
In addition, there is reason to worry that smokeless tobacco use by young persons may serve as a gateway to cigarette smoking, this nation’s leading preventable cause of premature death and disease. Even as cigarette use continues a steady decline among youth, smokeless tobacco use has remained troublingly steady. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 14.7 % of high school boys (and 8.8% of all high school students) reported current use of smokeless tobacco products in 2013. Each year, about 535,000 kids ages 12-17 use smokeless tobacco for the first time.
SFMS is calling on the local health care community as well as all San Franciscans to support Knock Tobacco Out of the Park. The proposed legislation will make the game of baseball safer for our kids, safer for the players, and safer for the future.
Click here the media coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle, KTVU Channel 2 News, and Sports Illustrated.