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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

Is It Time to Get Tobacco Out of Baseball?

Published October 20, 2011 10:35 AM by Valerie Newitt

Should tobacco in the ballpark count as a strike? "Smokeless tobacco" of the chewing variety is at the heart of a vile practice, giving way to the all-too-common distended cheeks, spit-spewing mouth, and discolored teeth found in many a major leaguer.

But more importantly, it's a health issue. "Not only is smokeless tobacco use hazardous, but young people who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to also start smoking cigarettes," said Douglas Luke, PhD, director of the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., via a new release. 

"Baseball players continue to be huge role models, especially for kids and adolescents. Young people are very aware of and influenced by the tobacco use of their role models ... The World Series is one of the most viewed public venues in the world," he said, noting that minor-league baseball has had a ban on all forms of tobacco use since the mid-'90s.

 It is time for the major league to follow suit? Or must we wait until the habit dies -- literally?

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