April 3rd marks the beginning of the tobacco-free era at Miller Park

MILWAUKEE -- Opening Day is April 3rd, and as another Milwaukee Brewers season gets underway, there's a change at Miller Park.

For the first time, Miller Park is a tobacco-free venue.

The Milwaukee Common Council in November approved via a 14-1 vote a ban on chewing tobacco at Milwaukee sports venues. The move is meant to discourage Major League baseball players from "dipping" during games in Milwaukee. Supporters of the ban said it's a bad example for kids to see their idols doing something that's bad for their health.

With this ban's approval, the Milwaukee Brewers have become one of 14 MLB teams to join a national campaign to take tobacco out of baseball.

“Opening Day is a time when so many of baseball’s greatest traditions return for the season,” Michael Murphy, the alderman who sponsored the ordinance said in a statement. “But, this year, I’m proud that Milwaukee can lead the way on a new tradition with the elimination of smokeless tobacco products from every sports venue in the city.”

“Smokeless tobacco harms the health of those who use it, causing oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer as well as other health problems such as gum disease, tooth decay and mouth lesions,” Bevan Baker, commissioner of health said in the statement. “Ensuring that Major League baseball players promote healthy behaviors on the field is a welcome step in the continued fight against tobacco’s threat to public health.”

“Youth will no longer see baseball players using a deadly and addictive product on the field when they attend games at Miller Park or elsewhere in Milwaukee,” Sue Marten, coordinator of the Tobacco-Free Suburban Milwaukee & Ozaukee coalition said in the statement.   “That’s good for baseball players and good for our kids who view them as role models.”

Smokeless tobacco use has been banned in the minor leagues and all new MLB baseball players are also prohibited from using smokeless tobacco, meaning that eventually, MLB will be completely tobacco free.