Aldermen approve smokeless tobacco ban for city sports venues

Will join rising number of cities doing the same

Miller Park
Miller Park

Milwaukee is set to join several other Major Leagues cities in banning smokeless tobacco at sporting events, including Miller Park.

The Common Council approved a measure Tuesday 13-1 that would ban the practice at any sporting venues in the city including on playing fields, team bench areas, vendor areas, spectator seating areas, parking lots and designated tailgating areas.

Miller Park (1).JPG
Miller Park

As a result, Major League Baseball players at Miller Park could face fines of up to $250 for using smokeless tobacco.

The ban would also apply to other sporting events in the city at the professional, collegiate, high school or amateur level. While it applies to all sports, baseball would be particularly impacted because some baseball players have used smokeless tobacco for years.

Ald. Michael Murphy, who introduced the measure, said the ban, “puts our city on the right side of this issue, and sends the clear message to everyone – but especially kids – that smokeless tobacco is dangerous.”

A number of other cities, including San Francisco, Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, have banned smokeless tobacco at ballparks. A statewide ban of smokeless tobacco at ballparks will go into effect for the 2017 in California and similar bans have been proposed in Washington D.C., Toronto and Minnesota.

“We fully support this initiative, and want to set an example for all Brewers fans in understanding the dangers of smokeless tobacco,” the Milwaukee Brewers said in a statement when the ordinance was introduced.

Ald. Nik Kovac was the lone no vote, he said he’s not in favor of smokeless tobacco and understands why people would not want children to see players chewing it, but said the issue is really a union dispute between “millionaire players and billionaire owners.”

“I don’t think the city should be doing an end around the collective bargaining process,” Kovac said. “I really think that’s something Major League Baseball needs to sort out.”

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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