Los Angeles moved ahead Tuesday with a ban on smokeless tobacco products at all amateur and professional baseball venues.
The Los Angeles City Council voted 14-0 Tuesday in favor of instructing the city attorney's office to prepare an ordinace regarding the ban.
Councilman Jose Huizar's proposal prohibits smokeless tobacco "at all venues in the city of Los Angeles where organized baseball is played, either amateur or professional." The baseball games where smokeless tobacco would be banned could include "youth, school and park leagues played at all city stadiums, parks and venues," according to the motion, which will be heard first by the council's Health, Mental Health and Education Committee before going to the full council.
Huizar and supporters of the motion pointed to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluding that high school athletes use smokeless tobacco at nearly twice the rate of non-athletes, and that smokeless tobacco use among athletes increased from 2001 to 2013, even as smoking rates dropped dramatically during the same period. Smokeless tobacco use among male high school athletes was at 17.4 percent in 2013, according to Huizar's office.
Smokeless tobacco contains cancer-causing chemicals, is linked to oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer as well as other mouth-related health problems, and could result in nicotine addiction, Huizar said.
"Major League Baseball has long supported a ban of smokeless tobacco at the Major League level and the Los Angeles Dodgers fully support the Los Angeles City Tobacco ordinance and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids," the Dodgers said in a statement.
While condemning the habit, the largely pro-union City Council did not mention the one group standing in the way of a complete ban at the professional level: the Major League Baseball Players association, which considers the matter an item of personal choice.
San Francisco and Boston have similar bans in place.
Conan Nolan contributed to this report.