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MLBPA on Chicago tobacco law: Focused on education, not bans

Adam Eaton thinks the Chicago smokeless tobacco ban will discourage kids from using. (AP)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Adam Eaton supports Chicago’s smokeless tobacco ban at stadiums — he thinks it will dissuade kids from using.

The outfielder, though, dips tobacco. Asked if he’d quit for home games, he said he had no choice but to.

“I stop all the time,” the White Sox union representative said. “It’s not a big thing for me.”

His union seemed torn on the ban. Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark said Wednesday the union is more focused on helping players quit than in making it illegal for them to do it.

“The union’s stance is that the legislators have the ability, obviously, to legislate as they see fit,” Clark said after meeting with White Sox players at Camelback Ranch. “We have always taken the position — and will continue to take the position — that the most important part of these conversations has more to do with education, support and cessation than it does banning and eliminating, particularly something that has been, and continues to be, legal and over the counter.

“That’s not going to change. We still have a focus on education and support, what I shared with the guys. And we will continue to, so guys know they have alternatives in each ballpark they go into, so that guys know there is a program in place that can provide them support should they decide to quit.”

Violators can be fined between $100 and $250 for being caught with smokeless tobacco. Chicago is the fourth city to impose a ban.

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Email: pfinley@suntimes.com