A series of tobacco restrictions passed Wednesday in Chicago aren’t finding favor with some of the city’s professional baseball players.
In a 35 to 10 vote Wednesday, the Chicago City Council passed measures to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21, slapped a tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco they say will bring in $6 million, outlawed discounts on tobacco products and banned chew at sports stadiums across the city.
The city's ordinance banning the use smokeless tobacco at baseball stadiums will be a difficult transition for players admits Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero.
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“It’s going to be hard, because you’re an addict pretty much,” Montero said. “It’s gonna be tough to quit cold turkey.”
And while some players see the ordinance as a difficult transition, not all are on board with the city’s plan restricting smokeless tobacco use. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon calls the ordinance an invasion of individual liberties.
“I’m into personal freedoms, I don’t quite understand the point with all that,” Maddon said. “I’m not into over legislating the human race so for me, I’ll just have to listen and learn.”
Chicago joins three other big league cities; San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles outlawing chewing tobacco at ballparks which will take effect this season.
Meanwhile Chicago joins cities such as New York, Boston, Cleveland, and Kansas City who have made changes to the purchase age for tobacco products.
In a statement Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the reforms passed Wednesday “will help today’s youth develop healthy lifestyles and refrain from the harmful effects of a tobacco habit.”
According to the Mayor’s office, Chicago will implement a $.20 cent tax per cigar, $1.80 per ounce of smokeless and smoking tobacco, and a $.60 cents per ounce tax on pipe tobacco.
Additionally, the Mayor’s office said the measures seek to “protect young people who are more vulnerable to nicotine addiction.”