Harbourcats knock it out of the park with tobacco-free partnership

VICTORIA – Island Health and the Victoria HarbourCats baseball club are teaming up to strike chewing tobacco out of the game for the second season, by educating youth, players and fans about the benefits of tobacco-free sports and the dangers of smokeless tobacco products.

Chewing tobacco, known as “chew,” “dip,” or “snuff,” is a type of smokeless tobacco product tried by approximately 8% of Canadians aged 15 and older. People who use chewing tobacco are 50% more likely to acquire mouth cancers compared to those who do not use.

Island Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Control program will provide an educational training program for HarbourCats players who will lead baseball camps for youth throughout the summer. The partnership also features tobacco-free promotions at each home game in Victoria.

The HarbourCats’ commitment to keep the game free of dip and chew will help players stay healthy and set an example for young athletes and fans, says Dr. Murray Fyfe, Island Health’s Medical Health Officer.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the HarbourCats to promote tobacco-free baseball,” Dr. Fyfe says. “Tobacco has no place in the ballpark – especially chewing tobacco – it’s a guaranteed strikeout.”

Chewing tobacco has over 3,000 chemicals, including 28 that can cause cancer. And it is addictive – chewing an average-size dip for 30 minutes has as much nicotine as smoking three cigarettes.

HarbourCats’ General Manager Brad Norris-Jones is delighted to renew this partnership, and hopes to build on last season’s efforts.

“We want players to know that chewing tobacco does not improve performance. Through this partnership, we want to encourage young athletes to play tobacco-free,” he says. “Chewing tobacco is banned in our league and it is not welcome on the diamond or in the dugout.”

Want to quit? Learn about the B.C. Smoking Cessation Program, or walk into any pharmacy to get started.

Visit www.quitnow.ca for more information, tips, and free coaching.

Harbour Cats media inquiries:
Jonathan Hodgson
Communications and Baseball Advisor

South Island media inquiries:
Jennifer Parisi
Communications Advisor
250.519.5300 x12650