Chicago Bans Smokeless Tobacco At Sporting Events In Latest Curtailment of Consumer Choices

b12cf6cf345d7eda55583551f549b7a2I have long been a critic of legislation that forces citizens to make healthy choices in their eating or drinking or lifestyle, including the “Big Gulp” laws like those in New York City. Once politicians start to dictate health choices, we have seen the desire to become insatiable as more and more “bad choices” are banned. One such example occurred in my home city, Chicago, when the city council banned smokeless tobacco (as well as raised Chicago’s smoking age from 18 to 21). While the age change will create the anomaly of having 18 year olds subject to the draft in war but not able to choose to smoke, it is the smokeless tobacco that is the most problematic element. There is no second-hand chew health problem for other people as there is for smoking. This is merely an effort to force people to make the choices that the government deems health or correct.

The city council also outlawed discounts and slapped a $6 million tax on tobacco products.

The ban on chew at professional and amateur sporting events, including baseball stadiums, resulted in a blast from Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon who correctly noted that (while he quit chewing 15 years ago) “I’m into personal freedoms. I don’t 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, so for me I’ll just have to listen and learn.” Amen, St. Joe, Amen.

Chicago is the fourth city to enact a ban on smokeless tobacco –joining Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The entire state of California will have a ban on smokeless tobacco go into effect in 2017. The question is why. This is a lawful product like smoking tobacco. People have a right to make choices about their lifestyle so long as they do not harm others. That is why I always supported the bans on smoking in public areas due to the second-hand smoke research. That is an externalized harm. What is the externalized harm of smokeless tobacco?

The Chicago ban will cost between $100 to $250 for each violation and teams will face a $2,500 fine for the third violation of the law within a yearand a 60-day suspension of their license to operate.

I happen to deeply dislike smoking and I find chewing tobacco disgusting. I also do not question the link to serious health problems like cancer. However, that should be the subject of an educational campaign by the government and MLB. Yet, in the end, people need to be able to make choices in our society rather than go down the path to paternalistic legislation regulating our good and bad choices.

60 thoughts on “Chicago Bans Smokeless Tobacco At Sporting Events In Latest Curtailment of Consumer Choices”

  1. Yes! You used the wrong word! Therefor your whole argument, nay your very existence is invalid! I’m going to waste your time! All day if possible! I have nothing of substance to say! But I see you made a mistake so take that you scoundrel! What’s next, you going to start talking about me in the third person to some other posters?

    1. stevegroen, that would depend on if the school is private or public. I can only answer to private since I understand what private property rights are and who has the say on rules and policy. The owners of the school would determine if smoking were allowed in a high school classroom, of course subject to his clients, the parents, would tolerate. Simple, the parents and owners of the school would most likely prohibit such action in most circumstances and they have the right to do so. Perhaps in a special needs situation smoking pot may be desirable if the child would do better in class. The parents and owners of the school would have to work that out. It’s really their call. With private education, a parent can always pull his child out on one school and send them to a more lenient or more disciplined school. What ever they would do would be agreeable to me because it is not my call unless I have a child being affected.

      When something becomes in the public domain and ownership rights are negated, I don’t really no myself what is in the best interest of the majority so I will leave that decision to folks like you who think they know what is in the best interest of other people.

    1. phillyT – I am confused as to which aid the nurse was using? Care to clarify?

  2. Show me someone at any level of state or local government doing more. Show me a senator or representative doing more. Some people are just never happy.

  3. Renegade
    A well thought out document that gets no followers? I think we call that a bad idea. Anyone can post a proposal on the WhiteHouse petition site. If no one else, signs on, well then. And while I’ll agree that it’s not perfect, I can’t recall another president in my lifetime who has tried to do anything even remotely resembling this. My local congressman has a comments section on his website. That’s about as good as it gets.

    As for skip’s case about schools. That public school encourages poor people to have children they can’t afford…. What? You buying that? Are you kidding me? That is a false correlation if I’ve ever seen one. It’s no different than saying free access to public roads encourages people to have children they can’t afford. Or access to police and fire services. Or public libraries!

    Then he finds a problem with the idea that everyone shares in the expense of public education, because, I don’t know, he doesn’t seem to think there is a public benefit in having an educated populace. Then he throws in the elderly with the notion that they don’t benefit from the same educated work force, some of whom will probably be caring for them. And would you prefer that your nurse’s aid can or can’t read your prescription bottle label, that he/she does or doesn’t know something about smoking around your oxygen tank. Finally for good measure he throws in a little complaint about unions which is not at all related to the other points, not that it matters because it was all thought salad to begin with.

    I feel like I just wasted fifteen minutes more on that than it ever deserved and I probably should have left it where it belonged.

    1. After the first term, the WH tripled the threshold for continuing in the process. This administration is most adept in using feel good methodologies. Currently there are over 2,600 petitions in the various stages. Those which garnered enough sponsors received boilerplate answers tailored to the sponsors. The essence of HCA’s emperor’s new clothes carries through this program.

    2. phillyT – I would be more supportive of your argument about schools if you could spell nurse’s aide correctly.

  4. @Chief Grouchy Bear

    Oh, that was a totally witty comment! Kudos to the clever person who thought this up! They should win a prize or something, for like the best comment of the month/year. Astounding! Amazing! I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me!


    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

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