San Francisco Board of Supervisors Poised to Approve First-in-Nation Legislation to Ban Tobacco Products from City Baseball Venues and Athletic Fields

SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote later today on a first-in-the-nation proposal from Supervisor Mark Farrell that would ban all tobacco products – including smokeless tobacco – at all baseball venues and City athletic fields within the City and County of San Francisco.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Poised to Approve First-in-Nation Legislation to Ban Tobacco Products from City Baseball Venues and Athletic Fields

Vote Comes Following a New Poll Showing Strong Support for the Legislation and a New UCSF Report Finding Smokeless Tobacco Use by Pro Athletes Influences Kids 

SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote later today on a first-in-the-nation proposal from Supervisor Mark Farrell that would ban all tobacco products – including smokeless tobacco – at all baseball venues and City athletic fields within the City and County of San Francisco.

“San Francisco will send a simple and strong message with the Board’s vote today - tobacco use in sports will no longer harm our youth, or our health,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell.

The measure is designed to protect youth and the broader San Francisco community, and as the professional baseball season gets underway, to send a simple and powerful message: tobacco doesn’t belong near San Francisco’s kids, or as part of our national pastime.

Last week, the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee passed the measure unanimously out of committee and on to the full Board of Supervisors. With seven Supervisors now cosponsoring the legislation, the measure is expected to pass unanimously today, and become law after Mayor Lee signs the measure.

WHAT: Vote on Supervisor Mark Farrell’s Legislation to Ban Chewing Tobacco from Baseball Venues & City Athletic Fields

WHEN: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 
2:00 p.m.

WHERE: San Francisco City Hall 
1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place 
San Francisco, California 94102

WHO: San Francisco Board of Supervisors 
Introduced by Supervisor Mark Farrell 
Cosponsors: Supervisors Eric Mar, John Avalos, Katy Tang, Julie Christensen, 
Scott Wiener, Malia Cohen

A poll released last week shows a more than 2-1 ratio – 63 percent to 29 percent – of San Francisco voters in support of the proposal. The poll, commissioned by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids on behalf of the Knock Tobacco Out of the Park coalition, was conducted by the California-based research firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3).

A new report also released last week by researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry provides additional support to efforts locally in San Francisco, statewide in California, and across the country to take tobacco out of baseball once and for all.

The UCSF researchers' article outlines the impact of smokeless tobacco use by professional athletes on adolescent athletes. The report, Smokeless Tobacco in Sport and Use Among Adolescents, provides a summary of the evidence on the role sports and athletes play in promoting smokeless tobacco use. Among the key findings: "Professional and college athletes provide a powerful model for boys and young men to use smokeless tobacco by legitimizing chewing and dipping as an integral part of being a successful athlete, and the high levels of smokeless tobacco use observed in the college and professional ranks are mirrored among adolescent athletes."

Farrell’s legislation will apply to baseball games at all levels, including the major and minor leagues, all interscholastic and intramural play, and organized leagues for youth or adults. It will cover the players, the fans, and anyone in the venue during a baseball game or related activity and will make any (such as a stadium, league field, etc.) that hosts organized baseball games completely tobacco free at all times. It will also apply to specific athletic fields and events that are owned by the City as well. Similar penalty structures to San Francisco’s already existing anti-tobacco laws will also be put in place.

More information on the Knock Tobacco Out of the Park campaign can be found at tobaccofreebaseball.org

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