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AMA to St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Get tobacco out of baseball

Oct. 21, 2011 (published)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

The American Medical Association agrees that the sight of smokeless tobacco use in Major League Baseball sends an unhealthy message to children ("Sen. Durbin, colleagues want smokeless tobacco kicked out of baseball," Oct. 19).

Smokeless tobacco is associated with numerous health risks, including cancer and oral health problems, and young people who watch their sports heroes use smokeless tobacco may be inspired to pick up this harmful habit. While great strides have been made in recent years, a number of star players have used smokeless tobacco on camera this season. Major League Baseball was a leader when it banned cigarette smoking in the parks, and it should take the next step and eliminate tobacco completely.

The AMA is proud to be a member of the Knock Tobacco Out of the Park campaign, a coalition of major medical and health groups that have come together to ask Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association to prohibit tobacco use at games. By banning smokeless tobacco from Major League Baseball, these professional athletes can set a better example for America's youth.

Peter W. Carmel, MD
President, American Medical Association