A baseball and chewing tobacco before Colorado Rockies v Milwaukee Brewers baseball game at Miller Park on April 20, 2012 in Milwaukee.
Jeffrey Phelps—Getty Images
By Katy Steinmetz
Updated: February 25, 2015 6:27 PM ET

Two California lawmakers are teaming up to take on a classic trapping of American baseball: chewing tobacco.

At a baseball field near the state capitol, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond introduced first-in-the-nation legislation on Wednesday that would prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco—including electronic cigarettes—wherever organized baseball is being played. San Francisco supervisor Mark Farrell is slated to introduce a similar bill in the coming days, which could put at ban in place at the San Francisco Giants’ stadium even if Thurmond’s measure fails.

If Thurmond’s bill passes, that would mean no more chaw for fans, coaches or players at the state’s five major league stadiums, as well as smaller ballparks.

On Tuesday, the Washington D.C.-based Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids announced their support for legislation that “will send a simple and powerful message to kids as spring training gets underway: baseball and tobacco don’t mix.” Advocates behind the measure are calling it the “Knock Tobacco Out of the Park” campaign, saying that the substance linked to cancer and nicotine addiction has no place in the homes of America’s national pastime. “We have a great opportunity to protect our players and stand up for kids by getting tobacco out of the game,” Thurmond said in a statement.

“It’s time for San Francisco and California to lead by example by showing our youth and the public that tobacco is proven to be harmful and has no place where our children play or look up to their favorite sports hero,” said Farrell.

Major League Baseball officials endorsed the idea in a statement on Tuesday:

“Major League Baseball has long supported a ban of smokeless tobacco at the Major League level. We have sought a ban of its use on-field in discussions with the Major League Baseball Players Association. Currently, players, managers and coaches cannot use smokeless tobacco during interviews or Club appearances. Personnel may not carry tobacco products in uniform when fans are in the ballpark. The use of smokeless tobacco has long been banned in the Minor Leagues, where the matter is not subject to collective bargaining.”

An official ban would have to be decided in coordination with the major league players association, and some have already expressed skepticism. “Some players are probably going to fight it,” Oakland A’s outfielder Josh Reddick told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I know players who put in a dip every inning.”

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