Durbin Applauds Chicago City Council Action to Reduce Youth Tobacco Use

Senator testified at Chicago City Council Finance Committee hearing on ”knocking tobacco out of the ballpark” last week

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) applauded the Chicago City Council’s action today to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use. “Thanks to tobacco control measures like banning smoking in public places and placing warning labels on cigarette cartons, far fewer people smoke now than did fifty years ago. But we still have a long way to go. The Chicago City Council took action today to move us closer to our goal of a generation of kids who grow up tobacco-free. I commend Alderman Burke for his leadership on this issue, and for his long legacy protecting children from the dangers of tobacco.”


Today, the City Council approved an ordinance to ban smokeless tobacco use at Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field as well as all sports venues, amateur, collegiate and professional, in Chicago. Durbin testified at the City Council’s Finance Committee hearing on the issue last week. In 2011, Durbin urged Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB Players Association to ban the use of tobacco products on the field, in the dugout and in locker rooms at MLB venues.


“When kids see their baseball heroes using spit tobacco on the field or in the dugout, they’re more likely to pick up the habit themselves,” Durbin said. “With today’s City Council vote, we have knocked tobacco out of Wrigley Field and US Cellular Field for good. It is one aspect of our nation’s favorite pastime that won’t be missed.”


Durbin also commended the City Council for approving an ordinance, proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, raising the tobacco age of sale to 21. “Raising the minimum tobacco age of sale to 21 is a commonsense measure to reduce youth tobacco use. We know that if young people do not pick up tobacco use early in life, they are far less likely to ever start this deadly habit. The ordinance approved by the City Council today will help prevent a new generation from falling prey to this dangerous epidemic.”


In September, Durbin introduced the Tobacco to 21 Act, legislation that would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.