Mayor Walsh to Sign Citywide Anti-Tobacco Ordinance

Smokeless tobacco will soon be a thing of the past at city ballfields, including Fenway Park.

Photo via Associated Press

Photo via Associated Press

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is set to sign a major citywide ban on the usage of smokeless tobacco products at athletic facilities on Wednesday.

The ban on smokeless tobacco will apply to all city athletic fields, public and private, as part of a broader effort to raise awareness about the health dangers these products pose. When Walsh signs the legislation, Boston will become just the second city in America to ban smokeless tobacco at ballfields. The City Council passed the ordinance last week.

The ban applies to all levels of athletics and subjects violators to a fine of $250 per incident.

Walsh launched the push for the ban in August with a well attended rally at Moakley Field in South Boston that feature former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling among others. For generations, chewing tobacco has been associated with baseball and it is something Major League Baseball has attempted to cut back on in recent years. MLB has noted a decline in smokeless tobacco in baseball dugouts around the league. The ban will apply to Fenway Park.

“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,” said Walsh at the time.

Schilling, a longtime smokeless tobacco user, was diagnosed and treated for mouth cancer. He chalks up his cancer to his years of tobacco use.

In 2014, Schilling described his ordeal with mouth cancer as one of miserable pain.

“I couldn’t swallow. I had to eat from a tube. I was sick every single day. And if it came back, I don’t know if I would go through the treatment again. It was that bad,” said Schilling.

In 2015, the former staff ace wrote a letter to his 16-year old self, urging him to not use smokeless tobacco.

In April, San Francisco became the first major city in the United States to pass a ban on smokeless tobacco. Los Angeles is in the process of passing a similar ordinance.