New York approves smokeless tobacco ban at sporting events

Smokeless tobacco will soon be off-limits for players and patrons at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.

The New York City Council approved a ban on smokeless tobacco at ticketed sporting events on Tuesday afternoon by a vote of 44-3. The law is due to take effect immediately once Mayor Bill de Blasio signs the bill, which is expected to be a formality.

"Today we're taking tobacco out of baseball in New York City," council member Corey Johnson said. "In New York City we've seen smoking rates precipitously decline, but chewing tobacco use has remained steady. When athletes who are role models to children are regularly shown on TV using smokeless tobacco, that sends a harmful message.

"By allowing smokeless tobacco at the ballparks, we are sending mixed signals about the dangers of tobacco use. There may not be many baseball issues where Mets and Yankees fans can agree, but this certainly is one of them."

Chicago last week joined San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles in enacting a similar ban.

Yankees setup man Andrew Miller said players will not picket over the issue, but he did allude to some players being addicted to the otherwise legal substance, which makes the situation tricky.

"It is what it is," said Miller, who once chewed tobacco but says he doesn't anymore. "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 is just something we are going to have to deal with. People will have to find a way to approach it and how strictly it will be enforced."

The penalty in New York is expected to match the fine for smoking where it is prohibited in the city, roughly $100.

"There are different tobacco laws in place for multiple different states -- obviously smoking and smokeless," New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson said. "So it's not something that surprises me if New York or Citi Field were to go ahead and pass something like this. The only question we have is, the guys who do it, how do they know what's going on?

"The Players' Association is going to provide alternatives for them. But if a player accidentally chooses to do it, will he get a citation? Will we stop the game? And will the same thing happen to the fans in attendance? That hasn't been identified yet, so we're still waiting to hear that."

ESPN's Andrew Marchand contributed to this report.