Beliefnet
Activist Faith

I enjoy baseball, but cringe when I see the ongoing practice of tobacco used during games. Clearly, I’m not alone.

The activists behind the website TobaccoFreeBaseball.org are out to do something about it. Through their petition at Change.org, you can be part of showing Major League Baseball that game time is no time for tobacco time.

It is not only a health hazard to those involved, but communicates the acceptance of the practice to many viewers, including a large number of children looking to these players as role models.

It you agree, go here and help change the situation.

[Sample text and letter from the petition are below. Thanks!]

America loves baseball — and so do tobacco companies.

From the earliest days of America’s pastime, baseball players have chewed tobacco, and suffered its deadly consequences. From Babe Ruth to Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, we have seen our heroes suffer with cancer. We do not want future generations to suffer the same way.

Unfortunately today’s Major League baseball players remain prominent spokesmen for smokeless tobacco… the same players that many young people– particularly teenage boys– look up to. The bulge in the lip and the can in the back pocket are images that have helped define masculinity for generations. But using smokeless tobacco isn’t cool or athletic—it causes cancer, mouth diseases and can trigger heart attacks.

Yet Major League ballplayers, managers and coaches continue to chew tobacco at the ballpark and on television—in front of millions of young fans.  So it’s no surprise that smokeless tobacco use among high school boys is skyrocketing, increasing by 36% since 2003.

Now is the time for action. Sign the petition to help us Knock Tobacco Out of the Park!

 

PETITION LETTER

Knock Tobacco out of Major League Baseball

Dear Commissioner Selig & Director Weiner,

It’s time for Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to agree to a ban on all tobacco use on the field and in the dugout.

As role models, baseball players have a tremendous impact on fans – especially teenage boys. With smokeless tobacco use among high school boys spiking — there’s been a 36 percent increase since 2003 — now is the time to act.

We have watched our baseball heroes speak out about their own cancer and mouth diseases caused by tobacco use. With over a third of current players using smokeless tobacco and with Stephen Strasburg’s recent admission that he started as a teenager after seeing his baseball heroes using it, a ban on all tobacco use is needed … both for players’ health and for the health of future generations of boys.

Please agree to a ban on all tobacco use on the field and in the dugout in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement.

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DILLON BURROUGHS is an author, activist, and co-founder of Activist Faith. Dillon served in Haiti following the epic 2010 earthquake and has investigated modern slavery in the US and internationally. His books include Undefending Christianity, Not in My Town (with Charles J. Powell), and Thirst No More (October). Discover more at ActivistFaith.org.

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