KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Royals fans, rejoice. Major League Baseball and the Players Union just agreed to a new contract, so the games will go on this summer as planned, but one of the new rules in the contract bans major leaguers from chewing tobacco.
So many young kids out there look up to these ballplayers – and want to be just like them. If they see their favorite player putting a wad of tobacco in their mouth during a game, some will want to do the same thing.
The latest statistics show that 2 out of every 100 middle schoolers and 6 out of every 100 high schoolers use smokeless tobacco. You might think, that’s not a lot. But the experts say many kids who chew are more likely to eventually smoke, and smokeless tobacco can cause mouth and stomach cancer.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, between 25 to 30 percent of all major leaguers use smokeless tobacco.
The new contract grandfathers in current players, which means anyone who has ever played a major league game can still chew in the pros. But from here on out, all players called up to the big leagues for the first time will not be allowed to use smokeless tobacco - ever.
Currently, all minor leaguers cannot chew, so the hope is this won’t be too hard a transition.
Besides the new rule, some cities have banned the use of smokeless tobacco in major league ballparks including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC.
Kansas City has not made any effort to ban chewing tobacco at the K, but that doesn’t mean lawmakers won’t try sometime down the line.
It looks like in the future when we see baseball players chewing, they will all look like Alex Gordon – with a big wad of gum in their mouth.