NYC backs legislation banning smokeless tobacco in ballparks

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City Health Department is backing legislation that would ban smokeless tobacco from all ticketed sports arenas, including Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.

At a hearing Thursday on several anti-smoking bills, the health department's senior legal counsel Kevin Schroth said every year roughly 415,000 kids nationwide try smokeless tobacco. He said young people repeatedly see professional athletes, especially baseball players, use chewing tobacco and that makes it socially acceptable.

Similar bans have already been enacted in Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco ballparks.

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Lawmakers are also targeting hookah bars by considering legislation that would add the non-tobacco shisha used in the water pipes to the city's smoking ban.

Schroth says smokers underestimate the health risks associated with hookahs use, which is attracting more young people.