Smokeless tobacco still allowed in baseball games

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 5, 2011

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A new labor agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Assn. will allow players and managers to continue using smokeless tobacco during games, despite some new restrictions on the products.

The American Medical Association, some members of Congress and public health groups had urged the league to prohibit all tobacco use on the field and in baseball dugouts. But the new collective bargaining agreement falls short of an outright ban. It states that smokeless tobacco containers must be concealed. Players and managers cannot carry tobacco tins or packages on their uniforms during times when fans are permitted inside stadiums.

Players and coaches also must refrain from using smokeless tobacco during media interviews.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D, Calif.) had written the league urging it to eliminate all smokeless tobacco use. The use of cigarettes already is banned, and players in the minor leagues cannot use smokeless tobacco during games. Waxman expressed disappointment over the labor deal on Nov. 22.

"The Players Assn. made a mistake in opposing Commissioner [Bud] Selig's efforts to ban smokeless tobacco use during games," Waxman said. "Baseball players are idols to millions of youth, and they should strive to be healthy role models."

Waxman commended the MLB for agreeing to a policy on testing players for human growth hormone use. Starting with spring training in 2012, all players will be subject to HGH blood testing during the year. Random and unannounced HGH testing then will begin during the 2012-13 off-season.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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