The Chicago Cubs will make an interesting bit of history on Friday afternoon, as their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates will be the first to be played under the city’s new ban on smokeless tobacco in sports venues.
The ordinance, which was passed in March and officially takes effect on Thursday, bans the use of smokeless tobacco both by players and by fans, and makes Chicago the fourth big league city to prohibit the practice, according to the American Lung Association.
San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles have also passed bans on smokeless tobacco in sporting venues, according to a release by the organization.
Several Cubs players, including John Lackey, spoke out against the ban when it was passed this spring, and Joe Maddon also expressed his concerns about the ordinance.
“I’m into personal freedoms, and I don’t understand the point with all that,” he said in March. “Just ban tobacco period if you’re going to go that route. I’m into education and letting everyone make their own decisions.”
Players like Miguel Montero, who has used smokeless tobacco for 15 years, have said they will have a tough time quitting the practice, but will comply with city law.
It’s going to be tough to quit cold turkey,” Montero told the Chicago Tribune. “Hopefully I can quit and that (law) will help me to quit.”