DC Council May Ban Smokeless Tobacco At Sports Venues

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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The D.C. Council is taking up an effort to ban smokeless tobacco at Washington Nationals games and sporting venues throughout the city.

The ban follows the actions of city officials in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Boston and San Francisco, where chewing tobacco is banned. Advocates of the ban argue it sets a good example for young children attending baseball games and other events to avoid tobacco products. Despite repeated efforts by Major League Baseball for a league-wide ban on smokeless tobacco, resistance from the players union has prevented such actions, reports Fox 5.

Council member Yvette Alexander, who recently lost her bid for reelection to former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, submitted the proposed tobacco ban in April.

“If you can recall at one point, you could smoke everywhere – offices, restaurants, bars,” Alexander told WMAL in April. “So we’re evolving. Now’s the time.”

Opponents of the proposal are curious how such a ban would be enforced in a crowded stadium. Critics charge it’s a paternalistic effort to dictate what adults can do.

The D.C. Council will hold an initial hearing Thursday on the proposal. Alexander argues its a necessary step forward in an effort to curb tobacco use among minors and reduce cancer rates overall, reports WMAL.

“A lot of athletes, especially baseball players, advertise the products and use the products,” Alexander told WMAL in April. “With our young people at the games and they see this, and they participate in sports, it becomes a culture that that’s just something that goes along with the sport. We want to discourage that.”

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