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City Council Panel Backs Proposed Ban On Smokeless Tobacco At Sports Arenas

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A City Council committee has recommended passage of an ordinance to ban smokeless tobacco from Chicago sports stadiums – most prominently, at Cubs and White Sox games.

Finance Committee Chair Ald. Edward Burke (14th) said he and Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) introduced the proposed ban for health reasons. The measure would prohibit smokeless tobacco products at all amateur and professional sporting events in Chicago.

"The goal of the prohibition will be to deter the use of our city from mimicking their sports heroes and using smokeless tobacco," he said.

In what might have been a first, a sitting U.S. senator, Dick Durbin, testified in favor of the ordinance. He noted San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston already have such bans.

"I think it's a step forward for public health to protect our kids, and we'll finally knock tobacco out of the ballpark," he said.


Durbin's father, a habitual smoker, died of lung cancer at the age of 53 when Durbin was 14 years old. Since then, he has been an anti-smoking advocate and helped pass the ban on smoking on commercial flights in 1990.

The Finance Committee advanced the smokeless tobacco ban on a voice vote. The full City Council will take up the proposal at its meeting next week. If approved as expected, the ban would go into effect before the start of the upcoming baseball season.

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