Chewing Tobacco in Sports


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Jason Dufner (pictured above) is the winner of the 2013 PGA championship. Everyone who watched the PGA Championship knows that Dufner always has a big fat dip in his front lip while golfing. Dufner, when asked about his habit, says that the dip (moist snuff) keeps him calm and focused during a round of golf. Dufner is not the only athlete who dips, not by a long shot. 


Chewing tobacco is and always has been a part of baseball. Since its beginnings, baseball has featured athletes who always have chew in their mouthes. Players like Pablo Sandoval and Raul Ibanez (just to name a few) can always been seen with chew in during a game. Some of the MLB's major stars (A-Rod, Tim Lincecum) openly chew whenever they please. The MLB has tried to eradicate the use of smokeless tobacco products but has had minimal success in doing so because of the strong players union the league has in place.


When professional athletes chew, it serves as a sort of free advertisement for tobacco companies. That being said, I wondered how this wore off on the American public. According to the American Cancer Society, 13% of high school males chew tobacco. The American Cancer Society suggest that part of the reason this number is so high is because of the frequent use of tobacco by professional athletes (who are seen by children on TV). Because the national government has been cracking down on smoking across the U.S., tobacco companies have been pushing their smokeless products to make up for lost revenue in the smoking department. Products like Camel's snus (a spit-free form of chew) ar being heavily advertised in stores and even in Sports Illustrated. Chew is becoming more and more popular amongst teens and over the next 20 years could surpass smoking percentage wise.


What can we do to stop this? Well it is clear that the MLB is not banning chew anytime soon so steps need to be made in other places. We've all seen the commercial of the lady with the hole in her throat that can't talk (freaks me out every time), but have you ever seen an anti-chew commercial? Neither have I. If we want to stop the growth of chew in America's youth, anti-chew commercials, billboards, radio adds, the whole nine yards, need to be released to educated the American public. 

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2 Comments

Great article Sean. As an avid chewing tobacco user and an avid athlete myself, I really caught my stride with this article. I, for one, am not a fan of your last paragraph. Tobacco products cannot be taken off the market because they're about as American as baseball and apple pie. It's tradition that you throw a big ol' wad of smokeless in your mouth for the company slow pitch softball game. That's a given. Love the article, keep up the great work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewing_tobacco heres some more info on smokeless

also, neither of your pictures worked. I was really looking forward to seeing a picture of Jason Dufner tossing a wedge in. You have to upload pictures via the "picture tool" at the toolbar of the blog posting page. You're better than that man. Good work with the article though, love the topic.

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