Citing the recent announcement by Washington Nationals pitcher Steven Strasburg about the dangers of smokeless tobacco in Major League Baseball (MLB), U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on the Commissioner of the MLB, Bud Selig, and the MLB Players Association to ban the use of tobacco products on the field, in the dugout, and in the locker rooms at MLB venues.
Lautenberg and Durbin cited the troubling statistics and numerous health risks of tobacco use: “Tobacco-related products kill 443,000 Americans every year, and each day 1,000 American children and teenagers become new regular smokers…Smokeless tobacco causes cancers of the stomach, larynx, esophagus, oral cancer — which can require disfiguring surgery — and pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of cancers. The use of smokeless tobacco is also linked to cardiovascular disease, gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth lesions.”
In the January 31st Washington Post article, Washington Nationals pitcher Steven Strasburg announced his effort to quit using smokeless tobacco – also known as chewing tobacco or ‘dip’. Strasburg pointed to his desire to emulate professional baseball players as a reason why he began using smokeless tobacco.