BOSTON -- A ban on smokeless tobacco products at Fenway Park and other Boston sports venues was approved Wednesday by the City Council.
Boston becomes the second city after San Francisco to approve such a ban. Los Angeles also is weighing a prohibition on smokeless tobacco, commonly called dip, chew or snuff.
The council unanimously approved the ban proposed this summer by Mayor Marty Walsh, who will have to sign the measure before it takes effect next April. The ban also has the backing of the Boston Red Sox and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, a mouth cancer survivor.
The ban prohibits the use of smokeless tobacco on all ballfields where professional, collegiate, high school or amateur sports are played. Violators will face a $250 fine. Ban signs will have to be posted in dugouts, bullpens, training rooms, locker rooms, press boxes, television and radio broadcast booths, and bathrooms throughout the sports venues.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauded Boston for setting what it called a "powerful example" that all Major League Baseball teams should follow.
"From coast to coast, the momentum is building to get tobacco out of baseball for kids, the players and the future," the organization said in a statement. "The message is clear: Our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product."
Public health officials rallying behind the proposal have cited the high rate of youths still using smokeless tobacco product, while cigarette use is dropping. They point to evidence that the products contribute to oral, pancreatic, and esophageal cancers and other diseases.