I am a life-long Red Sox fan. I cheer for them even when I'm home alone. I attend as many games at Fenway as I can afford.
I work with high school students.
Over the past year I have been seriously questioning my loyalty to the game. There's one simple reason: Chewing Tobacco.
It was reported by the Boston Globe that the Red Sox are the worst offenders in MLB in using chewing tobacco.
Just a few reminders about chewing tobacco:
- An estimated 7.6 million Americans age 12 and older (3.4 percent) had used smokeless tobacco in the past month.
- Smokeless tobacco use was most common among young adults ages 18 to 25.
- Smokeless tobacco contains 28 cancer-causing agents (carcinogens).
- It is a known cause of human cancer, as it increases the risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity. Oral health problems strongly associated with smokeless tobacco use are leukoplakia (a lesion of the soft tissue that consists of a white patch or plaque that cannot be scraped off) and recession of the gums.
- Smokeless tobacco use can lead to nicotine addiction and dependence.4
- Adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers.
Here's a visual reminder:
My questions to my fellow Sox fans:
What will it take to change the habit or MLB? If we have chewing tobacco allowed during the games why not allow cigarettes in the bullpen? How about beer instead? If we are holding our other athletes (e.g. Olympics) to a high standard for drugs/stimulants why does baseball get a free pass on this one?
Why can't MLB let go of this "tradition"? Could it be solved by a simple order from MLB league directors?