By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

baseball ban

Fans will no longer be able to take tobacco out to the ballgame in Boston.

“Today the City of Boston delivered a huge victory for kids by acting to take tobacco out of baseball once and for all,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “This action will save lives by reducing the number of young people who begin to use smokeless tobacco because they followed the example of the Major Leaguers they idolize.”

Major League Baseball took steps to restrict smokeless tobacco use in 2011, but it did not ban the practice entirely. Since then, some city and state governments have considered the issue.

Boston City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to prohibit smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products at baseball parks, including Fenway Park, and other sports venues throughout the city. The tobacco-free rules will go into effect April 1 and cover everything from Little League fields all the way up to Red Sox games. San Francisco became the first city in the nation to outlaw chewing tobacco on playing fields and its stadiums will be tobacco-free as of Jan. 1.

Meanwhile, California passed a statewide bill last week and it is before the governor. The bill, which would ban the use of tobacco in all parts of the stadium where players are visible to the public, covers all five major league cities in California and would take effect at the beginning of the 2017 season.

While cigarette smoking in the United States has steadily declined, smokeless tobacco use among youth has remained steady. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 14.7 percent of high-school boys and 8.8 percent of all high-school students used smokeless tobacco in 2013.

Each year, about 535,000 kids 12-17 use smokeless tobacco for the first time. Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 known carcinogens and causes heart disease, cancer and other serious health problems like gum disease, tooth decay and mouth lesions.