Last month, New York City banned the use of tobacco products at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. That came shortly after Chicago enacted a similar ban at sporting events, and the two cities join San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston in banning tobacco products.
The news didn’t sit well with all of the players. Notably, Cubs starter John Lackey noted the hypocrisy in policing what players can do in the confines of the stadium while fans are allowed to drink themselves stupid. He said, “We’re grown men. People in the stands can have a beer, but we can’t do what we want? That’s a little messed up.”
Joe DeLessio of NYmag.com culled together some data that says that approximately 33 percent of Major League Baseball players still use chewing tobacco. That’s down from 50 percent two decades ago, but as DeLessio notes, 33 percent is still much higher than the nationwide use of chewing tobacco among men, six percent.
Unfortunately, the use of chewing tobacco is as much a part of baseball culture as peanuts and cracker jacks. Hopefully, as more and more cities ban its use, we’ll see it eventually fade out of the sport.