Why Do Baseballers Chew Tobacco?

Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the United States and around the world. The sport has been around for over a century and is still widely popular today. As with any sport, there are certain traditions and habits that players have adopted over the years. One of these habits is the use of tobacco products, particularly chewing tobacco, by baseball players. In this article, we’ll take a look at why some baseball players chew tobacco and examine the potential health risks associated with the practice.

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History of Baseball and Tobacco

Chewing tobacco has been a part of the game of baseball since its inception. The use of tobacco was popular among players in the 19th century, when many teams were sponsored by tobacco companies. Players would be given free tobacco products, which they could use as they saw fit. This association between tobacco and baseball can be seen in the name of the famous tobacco brand, Bull Durham.

The Rise of Chewing Tobacco

In the 20th century, chewing tobacco rose in popularity among baseball players. Many players believed that nicotine could help them stay focused and alert during long games, as well as give them an edge over their opponents. Chewing tobacco was also seen as a way to bond with fellow players and show solidarity with the team.

The Health Risks of Chewing Tobacco

Despite the popularity of chewing tobacco among baseball players, there are many potential health risks associated with the practice. Chewing tobacco contains nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance. Over time, nicotine can lead to a variety of physical and mental health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

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Cessation Programs

In recent years, Major League Baseball (MLB) has taken steps to reduce the use of chewing tobacco among its players. In 2011, MLB and the players’ association reached an agreement to ban the use of all smokeless tobacco products in all major and minor league ballparks. The agreement also included cessation programs to help players quit chewing tobacco.

The Impact of Education

In addition to cessation programs, MLB has also created educational initiatives to raise awareness about the potential health risks of chewing tobacco. These initiatives include public service announcements, informative brochures, and health screenings for players.

The Role of the Media

Another factor that has played a role in reducing the use of chewing tobacco among baseball players is the media. Many major news outlets have reported on the potential health risks associated with tobacco use. This has helped to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with the practice.

The Role of Parents

The role of parents should not be overlooked when it comes to preventing tobacco use among baseball players. Parents need to be aware of the potential risks associated with chewing tobacco and should talk to their children about the dangers. Parents should also be vigilant in monitoring their children’s activities and reinforcing the importance of making healthy choices.

The Role of Peers

Peers can also play an important role in discouraging the use of chewing tobacco among baseball players. Fellow players can act as role models by abstaining from the practice. They can also provide support and encouragement to players who are trying to quit.


In conclusion, chewing tobacco has long been a part of the game of baseball. However, in recent years, MLB has taken steps to reduce the use of chewing tobacco among its players. This has included cessation programs, educational initiatives, and media coverage. Parents and peers also have a role to play in discouraging the use of chewing tobacco among baseball players.