Mayor Walsh, Curt Schilling Call for Ban on Smokeless Tobacco at Ballparks

Boston would follow San Francisco's lead. (If only its baseball team could do the same.)

Fenway photo uploaded by Robert Linsdell on flickr

Fenway Photo by Robert Linsdell on Flickr/Creative Commons

Mayor Marty Walsh wants to rid the city’s ballfields, big and small, of smokeless tobacco.

Walsh announced Wednesday his proposal for banning snuff and chewing tobacco from Fenway Park and Boston’s other professional and amateur venues alongside Red Sox great Curt Schilling and public health officials at a podium situated on home plate at South Boston’s Moakley Field.

Walsh said he will file an ordinance with the City Council next Monday. If successful, the measure would go into effect April 1, 2016, making Boston the second major city to ban smokeless tobacco from its ballparks after San Francisco, which did so in May.

“Our baseball parks are places for creating healthy futures, and this ordinance is about doing the right thing as a community for our young people,” Walsh said in a statement. “The consequences of smokeless tobacco are real, and we must do all that we can to set an example.”

The ordinance would cover professional, collegiate, high school or organized amateur sporting events, banning “cut, ground, powdered, or leaf tobacco and is intended to be placed in the oral or nasal cavity.” Violators would be subject to a $250 fine.

Schilling, who was diagnosed and treated for mouth cancer, blames chewing tobacco. “You will brush your teeth and your mouth will bleed,” he wrote in a letter to his 16-year-old self on Derek Jeter’s Players Tribune. “Not light blood from your gums, but darker blood from deeper inside your mouth. That’s the chew destroying your tissue. You will get message after message, but your addiction will always win, until it wins the biggest battle.”