Boston mayor signs ordinance banning chewing tobacco at city ballfields

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BOSTON – By the time the Red Sox take the field for opening day at Fenway Park next spring, smokeless tobacco will have seen its last dip, chew and spit at the old ballyard.

That’s because on Wednesday Mayor Martin J. Walsh signed an ordinance banning the use of smokeless tobacco and all other tobacco products at city parks and ballfields, including Fenway Park, a law that will kick in on April 1.

“I commend the Boston City Council on passing the ordinance banning smokeless tobacco at sports venues in Boston,” Walsh said in a press release. “I’m proud to sign this ordinance today. The consequences of smokeless tobacco are real and can be devastating.”

On Aug. 5 Walsh appeared alongside former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling to announce the proposal. Schilling has said he is certain that chewing tobacco was what led to his diagnosis of mouth cancer in 2014.

Schilling underwent successful cancer treatment but remains a staunch supporter of Walsh’s ban.

According to the ordinance, “smokeless tobacco” refers to any product that contains cut, ground, powdered or leaf tobacco, and is intended to be placed in the oral or nasal cavity, including, but not limited to, snuff, chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco, dissolvable tobacco products and snus.

Dr. Howard Koh of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health called the measure a “home run for baseball, cancer prevention and public health,” according Walsh’s press release.

The ordinance calls for a $250 fine for offenders.