Panel Advances Toned-Down Bill To Ban Some Tobacco at Ballparks
On Monday, the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization voted 15-5 to advance an amended bill (AB 768) that would ban smokeless tobacco at certain baseball venues in the state to protect the health of players and to set an example for children and adolescents, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (White, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/27).
Details of Amendments
AB 768, by Assembly member Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), originally aimed to prohibit the use of all tobacco products -- including chewing tobacco and electronic-cigarettes -- at all baseball venues in California (California Healthline, 4/9).
However, the bill was amended to exempt e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes. In addition, the bill's language was changed to apply to just major- and minor-league venues, omitting local recreational parks and many Little League venues.
According to "Capitol Alert," changes to the bill helped garner some support from groups that had opposed the measure, including the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association and e-cigarette maker NJOY.
However, the amendments also caused some health-related organizations that supported the original version of the bill to reconsider their positions. Those groups include the:
- American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network;
- American Heart Association; and
- American Lung Association.
Tim Gibbs, a lobbyist for the ACS Cancer Action Network, said, "What we saw today was troubling," adding, "Traditionally, donations from tobacco companies have been aimed disproportionately at this committee, and we hope it's not a sign of things to come as more substantive tobacco bills come before the committee later in the year" ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.