Many players in professional baseball, including Major League Baseball (MLB), have long been engaged in the practice of chewing tobacco during games. However, a recent research reveals the impact of this practice on the health of players.
The study — a collaboration of Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh, with financial support from the Medical Research Council and Leeds City Council — revealed that use of smokeless tobacco led to more than 200,000 fatalities in 2010 alone. Direct causes of the deaths range from mouth cancers to cardiovascular diseases. Data for the study came from several surveys, including the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study.
Despite the alarming death rate caused by smokeless tobacco use, study co-author Dr. Kamran Siddiqi said that their findings may just be scratching the surface. “It is possible that these figures are underestimated and future studies may reveal that the impact is even bigger. We need a global effort to try and address and control smokeless tobacco,” according to Siddiqi as reported in a news item.
The research team believes that the current laws and regulations that have succeeded in reducing cigarette smoking need to translate to regulating smokeless tobacco as well. “There is a need to build on the insights obtained from efforts to reduce cigarette smoking and to investigate strategies to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco,” Siddiqi added.
The state of California announced a proposed bill that prohibits chewing tobacco in MLB games. The bill authored by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) was passed in June 2015, according to a news report.