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All tobacco products banned at Safeco, CenturyLink fields

A new measure completely bans all tobacco products at CenturyLink and Safeco fields.
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Chewing tobacco

The King County Board of Health made it official on Thursday, unanimously approving a ban on smokeless tobacco in public stadiums. It applies to Safeco Field, Century Link Field, and KeyArena, among others.

The ban is part of a nationwide trend, and Major League Baseball movement, to end the decades-old tradition. Safeco Field will now be the 15th ballpark to have such a regulation.

“Other stadiums are doing it, King County doesn't want to be left behind,” said King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski, who chairs the Health Board.

Public health officials cite growing numbers of teen use of smokeless tobacco. According to the Board of Health report, more than 400,000 kids in the US from 12-17 years of age use smokeless tobacco for the first time each year. A 2014 NCAA report also said nearly half of all collegiate hockey and baseball players use it.

“I see (Mariners outfielder) Ben Gamel chewing a lot, chewing tobacco a lot, and I get very worried because I want him to live a long and healthy life,” said 9-year-old Hugo Horn, who testified before the board.

He and a group of children, part of the Tobacco-Free Kids Campaign, told the leaders they wanted a change.

“One of my favorite players is Robinson Cano - one of the things I really like about him is he chews bubble gum, not tobacco,” said Hugo Chen.

The M’s have been fully on board with the change.

“It is something the commissioner is supportive of, the Mariners are very supportive of,” said Mariners spokesperson Rebecca Hale.

The franchise has already put up a sign in the dugout and has an ample selection of sunflower seeds and Dubble Bubble on hand for players. There will be an official bill signing at the Mariners game on May 15th.

People who violate the ordinance will face a warning and then a $100 fine.

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