Smokeless tobacco

From BR Bullpen

Smokeless tobacco or chewing tobacco is a form of tobacco that is consumed without lighting up. Because lighting cigarettes or cigars has long been banned from professional dugouts, smokeless tobacco was seen as an alternative and was widely adopted around baseball, with many players even chewing the product on the field. Manufacturers used to claim that it was a healthier form of consuming nicotine, and used their association with baseball in their advertising, with Bobby Murcer a prominent pitchman in the 1970s, when the product was widely advertised on television and elsewhere.

It became apparent in the 1980s that smokeless tobacco was just as dangerous as the regular kind, and that mouth and throat cancer was a common result of a lifetime of indulging. Joe Garagiola was one of the first persons to become an activist against the product, but it continued to be widely consumed until the 2010s, even as restrictions against regular tobacco became more and more stringent. One event worked to drastically change the image of the product and demonstrate its nastiness: the untimely death at 54 of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn in 2014 of oral cancer. He had taken up the chewing habit while in the minor leagues.

In the Collective Bargaining Agreement reached in 2016, a clause was inserted that banned the use of the product for any player whose major league career was to begin after the signing of the agreement, ensuring that the practice would naturally fade out - at least in ballparks - within 15 years or so. Many cities had already banned the use of smokeless tobacco in ballparks falling under their jurisdiction, and in 2011, a first small step had been taken by banning players from carrying tobacco products onto the field of play. Similarly, in the minor leagues, the product has been banned on the field, in the dugout and on any mode of team transportation since June 15, 1993.