By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Smokeless tobacco at a baseball parkThe City of Los Angeles will prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco at baseball fields and other athletic venues throughout the city, based on a unanimous motion passed this week by the city council.

Smokeless tobacco use will not be allowed at sporting venues for anyone – players or fans.

“Today, the City of Los Angeles joins the ranks of San Francisco and Boston in what is becoming a national effort to knock tobacco out of the park,” said Councilmember José Huizar in a written statement. “Smokeless tobacco use in the great American pastime is way past its time.”

San Francisco was the first U.S. city to outlaw chewing tobacco on playing fields, which will be tobacco-free by Jan. 1. Last week, the Boston City Council voted unanimously to prohibit smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products at baseball parks, including Fenway Park, Little League fields and other sports venues throughout the city. Boston’s tobacco-free rule goes into effect April 1.

“This action will save lives by reducing the number of young people who begin to use smokeless tobacco because they follow the example of their favorite Major Leaguers,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in a statement. “Our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product.”

The governor of California is considering a state bill prohibiting tobacco use on the fields of Major League Baseball stadiums in California cities, which would take effect in 2017.

Each year, about 535,000 kids, ages 12 to 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.

In 2011, Major League Baseball reached a labor deal for the 2012 season that limited the use of smokeless tobacco. Although players agreed not to carry tobacco in front of fans or use it during media interviews, the deal fell short of completely removing smokeless tobacco.

The Los Angeles Dodgers voiced support of the smokeless tobacco ordinance before the vote on Tuesday, according to the city.