Baseball and oral fixations often go together, sunflower seeds and chewing tobacco have become synonymous with the sport. Chewing tobacco is extremely unhealthy; people lose their lives from the drug every year which is why four U.S. Senators have asked the baseball players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at the World Series this Wednesday.
“When players use smokeless tobacco, they endanger not only their own health, but also the health of millions of children who follow their example,” the senators wrote to Michael Weiner, who heads the union.
Baseball players who chew tobacco influence millions of children in adverse ways, baseball players are role models, even icons, for some children. It is not surprising that children might be drawn to tobacco to feel like they are in the big leagues. The MLB should have banned chewing tobacco years ago, but for some reason the behavior continues to be allowed. Yet, in the minor league smokeless tobacco is banned.
“Unfortunately, as these young fans root for their favorite team and players, they also will watch their on-field heroes use smokeless tobacco products,” the senators wrote.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report showing that use of smokeless tobacco among high school boys has risen 36 percent since 2003.
The Associated Press reports the letter was signed by Dick Durbin of Illinois, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Tom Harkin of Iowa.