Great Day for a (Tobacco-Free)… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Great Day for a (Tobacco-Free) Ballgame in Chicago

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
March 16, 2016


WASHINGTON, DC – Chicago today gave a powerful boost to the campaign to take tobacco out of baseball by becoming the fourth Major League city and the first in the Midwest to make its baseball stadiums tobacco-free. The City Council approved an ordinance to eliminate smokeless tobacco use in professional and amateur baseball and other sporting events – including Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Cubs and White Sox.

Our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product. Today’s vote sends the right message to youth that chewing tobacco is dangerous and should not be an accepted part of sports culture. It also provides further momentum for our nationwide campaign to get tobacco out of baseball for kids, the players and the future. We applaud Alderman Edward Burke for championing this legislation and for his efforts to protect the health of our children. We also applaud Sen. Richard Durbin for his leadership in advocating for tobacco-free baseball.

In the past year, San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles also have enacted laws prohibiting tobacco use at sports venues, including their professional baseball stadiums. These laws will be in effect by the start of the 2016 baseball season; a statewide law in California will take effect before the 2017 season. Chicago’s law should take effect before this season’s All Star break. Legislation under consideration in New York City has the support of both the Mets and the Yankees.

With Chicago – home to two storied franchises – joining the list of tobacco-free baseball cities, and New York likely to follow soon, it’s time for Major League Baseball and its players to accept the inevitable, set the right example for our kids and promptly agree to prohibit smokeless tobacco use at all major league ballparks.