With the death of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn Monday of oral cancer, it has New York Mets players (and probably a lot of others) rethinking their use of smokeless tobacco.
Lefty reliever Josh Edgin said using smokeless tobacco or dip is something he will try to quit. "I grew up with it and it's one of those things for me, it's a relaxing thing, helps you get unstrung" reported the New York Post.
"I have attempted to stop, but it's kind of hard to do during the season when there's guys around you doing it," said Edgin. "I actually started when I was 16 years old, working in the summer and it was just there and nothing to do other than work, so 'Let's try this.'"
Third baseman David Wright, who doesn't use tobacco, estimated the number of players who dip could be 50 percent. He said the Mets received a visit in spring training from a former player battling oral cancer. The player's physical appearance sent shock waves through the clubhouse.
"I think it kind of opened some guys eyes there, but it's sad something like this has to happen for guys to open their eyes to try to stop," Wright said. "I'm glad I've never really gotten into it, because in my eyes it's a pretty disgusting habit."
"We're old enough to make decisions, and we know what the final outcome of this is," second baseman Daniel Murphy said. "It's not news if something happens to you."
In 2011 Major League Baseball implemented rules related to smokeless tobacco. Thinking the message was a negative one for young fans, they met with the MLB Players Association to prohibit teams for providing tobacco to players. Players cannot have tobacco tins in their uniform pockets or give interviews while chewing tobacco.
Just like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco comes with warnings such as "Smokeless tobacco is addictive," and "This product can cause mouth cancer."
Murphy said he made the decision to quit using smokeless tobacco about a month ago after he became a father in March reported the Wall Street Journal. He dipped "off and on" for about a decade.
"I don't want him to dip," Murphy said. "If he looks at his father and he's dipping, he'd think it's OK."
Quitting smokeless tobacco can produce strong withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, dizziness, depression, headaches, and weight gain. The symptoms can last for weeks after the person's last chew.
As previously reported in The inquisitr, the death of Tony Gwynn has some people questioning whether MLB should ban smokeless tobacco.
[Image via upi.com]