Mets, Yanks react to smokeless tobacco ban

Mets, Yanks react to smokeless tobacco ban

TAMPA, Fla. -- The New York City Council officially moved to ban smokeless tobacco from Yankee Stadium and Citi Field on Tuesday, approving a measure that now needs only Mayor Bill de Blasio's signature to pass. The new law, which will affect players, team staff and fans alike, left the Mets and Yankees with questions regarding its enforcement.

"It's not an illegal substance," said Yankees reliever Andrew Miller, who quit dipping tobacco several years ago. "It's available to purchase at any 7-Eleven. But there are rules that need to be followed, and I think fortunately we have the Players Association to do everything they can to keep us fully aware of everything. I understand they're clearly making an effort to [give] people who are users and want to quit access to whatever aid they need.

"To me, it is what it is. I didn't vote on it, I didn't put it into effect, I didn't publicly ask one way or the other for it. It's just something that we're going to have to deal with, and people are going to have to find a way to approach it. I don't know how strictly it's going to be enforced."

In recent years, Major League Baseball allowed players to use smokeless tobacco so long as it was out of public view. That will no longer be the case at either New York stadium, in addition to ballparks in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago.

"It's just a rule we've got to abide by," Mets first baseman Lucas Duda said. "It's probably a good thing as far as health reasons and health concerns. But it's a rule we've got to abide by. It's not a big deal, really."

Given the bans around the country, the Yankees have spent Spring Training preparing their players for a law that seemed inevitable. Earlier this spring, team officials posted a notice in their clubhouse urging players to see a trainer if they desired nicotine treatment gum, lozenges or patches in an effort to quit.

"We'll make do and figure it out," Miller said. "We don't really have a choice. I don't foresee anyone protesting or picketing. It'll be interesting to see if someone gets hit with a fine, the reaction. I don't foresee it being a problem personally. From a philosophical standpoint, I don't really agree with it. But like I said, nobody asked me."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.