Photo courtesy of the LA Dodgers
Photo courtesy of the LA Dodgers

As the Dodgers took the field Tuesday, public health officials reminded fans that the stadium is tobacco-free.

The Los Angeles City Council adopted an ordinance Jan. 26, banning smoking and chewing tobacco from all sports stadiums.

“In creating tobacco-free environments for players and fans, especially impressionable young fans, L.A. is sending a message that health is a priority,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the interim health officer of the Department of Public Health. “By removing tobacco, including chew, from the game environment, L.A. is removing the glamour of tobacco marketing and exposure to smokeless tobacco products.”

Although rates of cigarette smoking among middle and high school students have dropped over the last 15 years, the same declines haven’t been seen in smokeless tobacco use.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that high school athletes use smokeless tobacco at nearly twice the rate of non-athletes, and smokeless tobacco use among athletes increased more than 11 percent from 2001 to 2013. About 17 percent of male high school athletes used smokeless tobacco in 2013.

“Nicotine in any form is addictive and can lead to a life trapped in addiction,” Gunzenhauser said.     Public health experts say smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 known carcinogens and causes oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer, as well as gum disease and mouth lesions.

San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and New York have also mandated tobacco- free stadiums.

— Wire reports 

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