Senate Dems want Major League Baseball to kick its tobacco habit February 15, 2011
Senate Dems want Major League Baseball to kick its tobacco habit
Could “chew” soon be banned from the baseball diamond?
Two senior Senate Democrats on Tuesday called on Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and the players union to outlaw the use of tobacco products on the field, in the dugout and in locker rooms at MLB venues.
In letters to Selig and the MLB Players Association, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said it’s time the major leagues follow in the footsteps of the minor leagues, which outlawed tobacco nearly 30 years ago.
The senators singled out for praise Washington Nationals ace Steven Strasburg, who went public about his efforts to kick his chewing tobacco habit because of its negative health effects.
“We now know conclusively that smokeless tobacco endangers the health of baseball players who use it, but it also affects millions of young people who watch baseball.” Durbin and Lautenberg wrote. “The use of smokeless tobacco by baseball players undermines the positive image of the sport and sends a dangerous message to young fans, who may be influenced by the players they look up to as role models.”
The senators cited statistics which show tobacco-related products kill 443,000 Americans each year. And each day, 1,000 children in the U.S. become addicted to smoking.
Long a fixture in baseball culture, chewing tobacco has been shown to cause stomach, larynx, esophagus, oral and pancreatic cancers. It’s also been linked to cardiovascular disease, gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth lesions.
Durbin and Lautenberg also write a separate letter to Strasburg, whose struggle with tobacco was recently featured in a front-page story in the Washington Post.
“Your individual decision to quit smokeless tobacco, not only for your health, but to set a positive image for the young people who look up to you and watch baseball, is laudable,” they wrote. “We want to encourage you to stick with it. Baseball fans will notice. Your example could prevent disease and disability and save a few lives.”
A few things. I dip and I also coach little league (11-12 yr olds). However, I never dip in front of the kids. That being said I think this is a complete waste of time and effort.