Pro-baseball – a major influence in use of smokeless tobacco

by Jenny Novac on November 1, 2012

Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, said the tax increase of smokeless tobacco and cigars solves part of the problem of reducing the number of smokers. Teens tend more towards smoke tobacco products when they see famous people such as baseball players using them.

Chewing Tobacco

Ball and chewing tobacco

The connection between chewing tobacco and baseball goes back as far as the baseball itself. The image of all-stars holding large wads of tobacco in their mouths with tins in their back pockets encourages youth to take up smoking.

Many players have seen tobacco use take a toll on their health.

Major League Baseball took a historic move this year when its five-year collective bargaining agreement restricted the smokeless tobacco use. Players and coaches are not longer allowed to have tobacco tins or pouches anytime fans are at the ballpark. As well, they can not use smokeless tobacco during TV interviews, autograph sessions or team-sponsored events. The limitations allow the players to se smokeless tobacco while they are not in the field.

Fines for using chewing tobacco

However, the discipline procedure is lenient against players and coaches who violated the restriction. For the first violation, a written warning is given. For the second violation, another written warning is issued along with “recommendation” for counseling. The third violation will lead to payment of a $1,000 fine.

Hamm said that there are some players who still chew tobacco in the ballparks where teens can see them, as well as they can be seen chewing when they are giving interviews. “The baseball stars need to observe the change if it is ever going to be effective.”

Widespread in high school and college baseball

Chewing tobacco is very popular in high school and collegiate baseball too. In high school, 34%-50% of baseball players said that they use tobacco, while the latest NCAA research published in 2006 revealed that 42 percent of college players chew tobacco.

Anti-tobacco measures are not implemented in every high school baseball team because 51 percent of coaches who used tobacco permitted their players using tobacco during practices, said Ted Eaves, a North Carolina researcher familiar with tobacco in baseball. Players are 3 times more likely to use tobacco if they play on a team where the coach does.

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