New York City

New York City Bans Smokeless Tobacco At the Ballpark

The Big Apple becomes the latest city to embrace "over-legislating the human race" at sporting events.


The City Council of New York voted 44-3 to ban smokeless tobacco

Human race, overlegislated.
Flickr/Paul Hadsall

at all ticketed baseball parks and arenas. Yesterday's vote will become effective immediately upon Mayor Bill de Blasio's signing of the bill. 

Following the lead of San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago, the Big Apple will become the fifth US city to ban a public use of a product that is legal for adults to purchase and consume. And unlike cigarettes and other smoke-able forms of tobacco, the considerable health risk is confined to the user and not the people in the vicinity of the user. 

The Mets and Yankees, New York's major league baseball franchises, are reportedly in support of the decision, though Yankees' reliever Andrew Miller said, "From a philosophical standpoint, I don't agree with it" but that "it is what it is." 

The New York Post quoted an anonymous Mets player as saying: 

I would like to see how they are going to enforce that…If somebody sees you chewing, will they reach over the railing and hand you a ticket when you are walking off the field?

Reason's Matt Welch wrote in 2010 about Congress' efforts to push MLB to ban smokeless tobacco entirely, and last week he noted Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon's reaction to the City of Broad Shouldersban on smokeless tobacco at the ballpark:

I'm into personal freedoms…I don't quite understand the point with all that. Just eradicate tobacco, period, if you're going to go that route. I'm not into over-legislating the human race.

I stopped chewing tobacco about 15 years ago. I'm glad that I did, because I think I feel better because of it. I know the pitfalls. But I'm into (educating) the masses and let everybody make their own decisions.

Smokeless tobacco is already banned in the minor leagues and the NCAA (which has a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to tobacco). And while efforts to de-glamorize the use of a product that can be deadly and is undoubtedly gross are well-intentioned, at some point, adults should be free to make their own decisions in a free society. 

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  1. where would we be without the nanny state.

    1. We know better now, don’t we? Devils don’t come from hell beneath us. They come from the government.

  2. Why don’t they ban alcohol too?

    1. And sugary drinks.

  3. Jacob Sullum has made the point that although the risk from smokeless tobacco is not negligible, it pales in comparison to the risks from smoking.

    And of course the Nanny Staters don’t care about harm reduction, their ultimate goal is purification.

    IOW they have a lot of lung blood on their hands.

    1. We want diversity of ethnicity, not diversity of thought or lifestyle. Everyone will assimilate.

    2. And there is at least one form, Swedish style Snus, which has very low health risks and almost no link to cancer.

      1. Pipe smoking is similarly not particularly unhealthy, unless you smoke the thing like a cigarette. Even then, it’s much better than cigarettes.

  4. Vaping is the next thing. Check my clouds, tovarisch.

    Vape Nation

  5. Now I can finally feel safe at a Yankees game.

    1. Or, you’re going to get choked to death by an undercover cop at the game.

      1. I appreciate the sentiment, but I cannot bring myself to read a Tweeter story.

  6. Calling them “nanny staters” isn’t enough, y’all.

    They want to use the coercive power of the government to improve people’s lives, and they’re openly hostile to individual rights becasue they get in the way of that.

    There’s a specific word for that thinking, and the word is “progressive”.

    “San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and . . . the Big Apple” are all run by progressives.

    1. I thought the word was asshole.

      1. that would be redundant, no?

      2. No! Resisting assholes is necessary but not sufficient.

        These assholes self-identify as assholes, but they’re a special kind of asshole.

        Hillary Clinton self-identifies as a progressive. Barack Obama, likewise.

        When Trump isn’t being awful, it’s becasue he’s denouncing progressives.

        “Progressive” is like organized, systematic, objective assholery. It isn’t just the assholery we should resist. It’s the organization and systematization and purposefulness of it.

        1. There’s a specific word for that thinking, and the word is “progressive” femsplaining.

          /waits for the collective fury of those who can’t take a joke

  7. “Smokeless tobacco is already banned in the minor leagues and the NCAA (which has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to tobacco). ”

    The difference is that smokeless tobacco is banned at minor league parks *by the leagues* and is banned in the NCAA *by the organization itself.*

    If a private organization bans something at their own arenas, that’s different than the government imposing such bans on people.

  8. OT: Expect more attacks in Europe.…..dshed.html

    1. They want to bring about the war with the Romans that ends at Al-Amaq or Dabiq as Muhammed predicted.

  9. If they’re into banning things that are health risks, they should ban or limit sugary soft drinks… wait, they tried that already.

  10. Totes on topic: people on Twitter are rallying around a woman who posted a picture of herself in her underwear, while laughing at an unflattering picture of David Letterman taken by paparazzi. It’s fun.

  11. at some point, adults should be free to make their own decisions in a free society.

    Oh, Fuck no! Adults should only be free to make the right decisions,because making wrong decisions can have icky effects on the rest of us and thus bad decisions should must be outlawed. For the children, and by children I mean everyone.

    1. Where is Tony anyway?

  12. And unlike cigarettes and other smoke-able forms of tobacco, the considerable health risk is confined to the user and not the people in the vicinity of the user.

    Spare us the second hand smoke dribble.

  13. “…at some point, adults should be free to make their own decisions in a free society.”

    It’s this kind of tepid thinking that allows the government to determine exactly that “point” for us.

  14. Related: just started Bacon & Egg Man which someone here recommended and loving it so far. “First they came for my tobacco…”

  15. So is this ban just for players, or for the spectators as well?

    What a bunch of crap. Nasty tobacco spit is an essential part of baseball.

    1. Kid tested, Lenny Dykstra approved.

  16. lol, like they are really gonna know if anyone is dipping or not lol. I swallow dammit!

    1. kudos anon bot.

      That post demonstrates more intelligence than several of the proggie posters here at Reason.

  17. The problem is the State doing it. If, as a private organization, the MLB like the NCAA wants to ban something that’s fine. The proper function of government is to defend individual negative liberty with the retaliatory use of force, period.

  18. Latest to embrace? They’ve been on the leading edge for quite some time, you know, a century or so.

  19. Meh, they’ve banned tobacco on the campus here and a lot of dudes have snuff tins in their back pocket, they aren’t leaving campus to dip.

    When we go to a hoops game we sneak out at half for snag, right near the fieldhouse main entrance. in 5 years no one has said shit. It’s social signalling.

    Just like 4 years ago when the city council passed an LBGT anti discrimination ordinance, it was a shitshow involving social signallers on both sides. The funny thing is the ordinance had no local enforcement option (fortunately).

    Aaandddd 5 years later not one complaint, ironically the progs over at the U have been tendered a couple trans
    complaints….unfortunately one person committed suicide.

    So city council social signallling is less susceptible to legal challenge than the UM. Shows who has deeper pockets.

  20. To be fair, I don’t use my vape indoors when in public. The clouds are huge, and, although they smell better than tobacco, they greatly hinder visibility and can cause reactions among people with respiratory problems.

    Plus, its just plain rude in todays society. I always ask my friends before I vape in their houses. When I’m in public, I vape outside as a courtesy to others, not because I give a shit about whatever the state wants me to do.

  21. Good luck enforcing that. People will still use smokeless tobacco in those places and do. It’s stupid and unenforceable (well, to put it another way, the cops have better things to do than enforce it).

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