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Baseball and Chewing Tobacco

Baseball season is finally here!  For years professional baseball players have used chewing tobacco during games, and it is becoming more common in young adults today – especially with boys who become involved in sports, particularly baseball.  Whether it’s from watching their idols, peer pressure, or just plain curiosity, young men are following the same tradition and using smokeless tobacco.  My husband starting using chewing tobacco at the age of 15 while playing high school baseball, and now 18 years later, he is still struggling to quit.  The longer a person uses it, the harder it is to quit and the higher the risk of cancer or other health issues. 

There are many consequences of chewing tobacco:

  • higher risk of cavities and receding gum tissue, which can eventually lead to tooth loss
  • heart disease
  • toxins swallowed in the juice that is produced can cause cancer not only in the mouth, lips, or tongue but also in the lining of the stomach, the bladder, the pancreas, and the voice box

Even knowing the consequences and noting the changes in his gum tissue and having a family now, trying to be a role model, it is tough for my husband to quit and hard for myself to be supportive.  If you are a user or a parent/spouse/friend of someone that is, understand that tobacco dependency is a horrible addiction and it is extremely difficult to quit.  To help break this habit, multiple aspects need to be addressed: physical, sensory, psychological, and behavioral.  Try to sit down with them and discuss the risks and what you can do to help.  Support from family and friends is crucial and know that it usually takes multiple times (and each time it gets a little bit easier) before successfully kicking the habit.  Best thing to remember is to not give up!

– from
Prycilla O. (Dental Assistant)

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