Chicago approves ban on chewing tobacco at sporting events

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago is knocking chewing tobacco out of the ballpark.

The city joined a growing list Wednesday when aldermen approved a ban on chewing tobacco at professional and amateur sporting events.

White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf voiced his support in a letter to the city's finance committee last week. He said children should not be exposed to smokeless tobacco and that the league and the city have a chance to be leaders "in an important cause" that "directly impacts the health and well-being of our fans, our athletes and our city."

Similar bans are taking effect San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston.

Legislation has been proposed in New York City, and both the Mets and Yankees say they back such a ban at their parks. In Toronto, a city legislator said late last month that he plans to pursue a ban that would cover the Blue Jays' stadium.

But not everyone is on board with taking dip out of the dugout.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday he disagrees with the ban even though he stopped using smokeless tobacco 15 years ago.

"When everyone else thinks they know what's good for me, I don't appreciate that," he said.

Pitcher John Lackey had a similar reaction. Like Maddon, he said it should be up to the individual, even though he does not use smokeless tobacco.

"I get it, you don't want your Little League kid to do that," Lackey said. "I don't do it, personally, honestly. Grown men should have their own choices."

Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said he attempted quit once and made light of the ban, saying it might make him moody. But he also acknowledged tobacco use sets a bad example for youngsters.

"It will be good if I do quit," Montero said. "We will probably have to get a lot of nicotine gum."