Is Chewing Tobacco Allowed in MLB Dugouts?
Major League Baseball (MLB) has long been associated with the use of chewing tobacco by players, coaches, and managers. Despite efforts by the league to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco, it is still a common sight in many dugouts throughout the league. While chewing tobacco may be a part of baseball’s culture, it is important to understand the potential risks associated with its use and why MLB has taken steps to reduce its use.
What is Chewing Tobacco?
Chewing tobacco, also known as smokeless tobacco, is a common form of tobacco use and is widely available in many forms. It is available in loose-leaf, plug, and twist forms, and usually contains nicotine and other chemicals. Chewing tobacco is not burned, so it does not produce smoke. Instead, users place the tobacco between their cheek and gum, where it is absorbed through the lining of the mouth.
Why is Chewing Tobacco Used in MLB?
Chewing tobacco has been a part of baseball culture for decades, and is seen as a way for players to relax and stay focused during games. It is also seen as a way to bond with teammates and coaches. Chewing tobacco is also popular among players because of its association with the game, which makes it a part of the baseball experience.
Health Risks of Chewing Tobacco
Despite its popularity, chewing tobacco carries a number of health risks. The most serious of these is the risk of developing mouth cancer, which can be caused by the nicotine and other chemicals found in smokeless tobacco. Chewing tobacco can also lead to other health problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, and heart disease.
MLB’s Efforts to Reduce Chewing Tobacco Use
The MLB has taken steps to reduce the use of chewing tobacco in its dugouts. In 2011, the league implemented a policy that prohibits the use of smokeless tobacco products in all ballparks. This includes the dugouts, bullpens, and clubhouses, as well as on the field and in the stands. The policy also prohibits players from carrying tobacco products in their uniform or equipment bags.
Consequences of Chewing Tobacco Use in MLB
Players caught using chewing tobacco in violation of the policy can be fined and/or suspended. In addition, teams can be subject to fines if they are found to be in violation of the policy. The MLB has also placed a heavy emphasis on educating players on the dangers of chewing tobacco and the consequences of violating the policy.
MLB Chewing Tobacco Use Statistics
A 2014 survey of MLB players conducted by the MLB and the Players Association found that 16.6% of players reported using smokeless tobacco during the season. The survey also found that the use of chewing tobacco was highest among pitchers and catchers, with a reported rate of 25.7%.
The Debate Over Chewing Tobacco in MLB
The debate over the use of chewing tobacco in MLB is ongoing. Some argue that the league should ban the use of smokeless tobacco completely, while others feel that it should be allowed as long as it is not used in a manner that puts players or fans at risk.
MLB Chewing Tobacco Alternatives
The MLB is promoting alternatives to chewing tobacco, such as sunflower seeds, gum, and mints, in an effort to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco. Additionally, the league has partnered with the American Cancer Society to create educational programs that educate players on the risks of chewing tobacco and provide resources for those looking to quit.
Chewing tobacco has long been a part of MLB culture, however, it carries serious health risks. The MLB has taken steps to reduce its use, including banning it in all ballparks and issuing penalties for players caught using it. The debate over whether it should be allowed in dugouts continues, but it is clear that the league is committed to reducing its use.