The Chicago City Council approved legislation on Wednesday that raises the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21 and increases taxes on tobacco products. Aldermen, on a voice vote, approved a ban on chewing tobacco at amateur and professional sporting events.
“What does Cubs manager Joe Maddon think?” you’re probably asking yourself. CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney has the skipper’s thoughts:
“I’m into personal freedoms,” Maddon said Wednesday at Surprise Stadium. “I don’t quite understand the point with all that. Just eradicate tobacco, period, if you’re going to go that route. I’m not into over-legislating the human race.
“I stopped chewing tobacco about 15 years ago. I’m glad that I did, because I think I feel better because of it. I know the pitfalls. But I’m into (educating) the masses and let everybody make their own decisions.
“Inherently, that’s what I’m about – (not telling) me what I can and cannot do as an adult.”
Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died in 2014 of salivary gland cancer, which he attributed to his use of chewing tobacco. Curt Schilling, a Hall of Fame candidate, attributed his mouth cancer to using chewing tobacco as well.
It’s certainly in everyone’s best interest to have chewing tobacco banned, but Maddon wasn’t alone in espousing a libertarian worldview. Starter John Lackey said “grown men should have their own choices.” He added, “People in the stands can have a beer, but we can’t do what we want? That’s a little messed up.”
Chicago’s new law goes into effect in 90 days. The penalty is $250 for a first-time violation, $500 for a second, and at least $2,500 for every other violation that occurs within one year of the first offense.