How California Lawmakers Are Pushing for Dental Health


A proposed bill in California is seeking to change baseball’s image for the better. Tony Thurmond, the author of the bill, proposes to ban all forms of tobacco from Major League Baseball games in California. The bill is part of a nationwide campaign planned by anti-tobacco groups seeking to publicly promote healthier habits.

A Long-Standing Tradition

Tobacco has long been associated with baseball. And even though smoking has been banned for years, it’s commonplace to see players chewing and dipping tobacco during their games and practices. Smokeless tobacco has been linked to significant health problems and even deaths–most recently, the death of baseball icon Tony Gwynn. He died on June 16, 2014 from cancer of the salivary glands, which many dentists attribute to his habits of dipping tobacco.

What Changes Will Be Made?

The proposed bill would ban all forms of tobacco from ballparks, including cigarettes and E-cigarettes. Stadiums would also be required to post signs to notify players and ballpark visitors of the ban. Dipping and chewing tobacco is already officially banned from Minor League games; however, the rules are not always enforced. If this law is passed, it should encourage officials to enforce the tobacco ban.

Tobacco and Dental Health

Although Thurmond’s proposed bill would only affect California stadiums, he and other anti-tobacco activists hope that it will help bring greater awareness to their campaign and that the momentum will spread to other states as well. It’s no secret that tobacco use causes severe dental issues like gum disease, tooth decay, and bone loss; however, it continues to be popular despite the risks.

Dr. Ryne Johnson, prosthodontist at Newton Wellesley Dental Partners, sees this sort of damage first hand as he works with patients with severe damage to their teeth and gums. As a dentist in Newton, MA, it’s his job to create dental prosthetics to replace teeth that have become too badly damaged to save. Unfortunately, this damage is all too common. However, Dr. Johnson and other dentists hope that with greater awareness about the negative effects of tobacco, young boys will follow in the footsteps of their role models on the baseball field and give up tobacco use for good.


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