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Comment of the day: an important note about smokeless tobacco

Jan 31, 2011, 4:03 PM EDT

Nellie Fox

You’ll recall in the linked article about smokeless tobacco earlier today that the reason Stephen Strasburg is quitting the stuff is because of Tony Gwynn’s recent cancer diagnosis.  Gwynn, it is noted, has blamed his years of smokeless tobacco use for the current state of his health.

Following that post, I received an email from a pathologist who says something worth bearing in mind:

I am ambivalent about what MLB and the players do about chewing tobacco, though I admit it probably be nice if they all just quit.  And I am happy that Strasburg quit, for whatever reason.

But in the linked article, and in every article I have seen that mentioned Gwynn and his cancer, there is mention that Gwynn believes strongly that his cancer was caused by tobacco use.  I would think a good reporter might mention, tactfully, that current evidence does not show such a link with the cancer I think Gwynn has (carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma).  Tobacco has been linked to a certain benign parotid tumor, but not the one I think he originally had (I say “I think” because they never actually say, but I deduce it from the reports).  Anyway, it may not be important, but I just am always irked by untruths is news reports (and here, note that I am not referring to you), however trivial.  Tobacco has risk enough – there is no need it be exaggerated.

Good point.  One of the things that bugs me about steroids stuff is the hysteria that surrounds it.  I don’t care if Strasburg is quitting tobacco because his neighbor’s dog told him too — quitting is good regardless — but policy decisions should be based on the facts, not on hysteria, sympathy or misinformation.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 31, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Chewing tobacco is known to kill baby seals when used and is also known to rape small rodents.

    • bloodysock - Jan 31, 2011 at 4:21 PM

      and the cause of global warming.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 31, 2011 at 4:22 PM

      Is that the story Jerry Penacoli used? He was all hopped up on smokeless tobbacco?

      • xmatt0926x - Jan 31, 2011 at 5:07 PM

        Wow. A Gerbil Penacoli mention?? For a second there it was the 1980′s in Philly all over again..

    • kiwicricket - Jan 31, 2011 at 5:50 PM

      But it might help put an end to Sarah Palin though….

  2. 1historian - Jan 31, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    You smoke tobacco you will get sick from it

    You chew tobacco you will get sick from it

    Both of the above facts have been proven over and over and over again through the years.

    Any one who DOESN’T know that by now is by definition too dumb to reach in any case

    Next question

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 31, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      But some won’t always get sick from either, it’s not 100%. Therefore, if you are in the minority that isn’t “sick from it” then, by definition, it did not kill you. Thus, I conclude, that which does not kill you only makes you stronger and hence this population in question is actually stronger for smoking/chewing. Next question.

      • cktai - Feb 1, 2011 at 3:13 AM

        This however, makes tobacco a performance enhancing drug.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 31, 2011 at 9:43 PM

      History tells us that he’s onto something. Huh….

    • Ray Steele - Feb 1, 2011 at 8:44 AM

      In short, no, those facts haven’t been proven over and over again.

      The facts are: smoking, especially if you smoke a lot, raises your risk for lung cancer.

      Chewing tobacco raises your risk for mouth cancer.

      Smokeless tobacco, while not completely harmless, is a whole lot safer than smoking or regular chaw. That’s according to science and not the silly warning lables.

      The “science” behind second-hand smoke is largely bunk. The risk of cancer from second-hand smoke is virtually non-existent according to the actual science, which is routinely ignored by the tobacco-Nazis and media.

      No, smoking a lot isn’t good for you, but some of us occasional cigar smokers also run 10k’s and half-marathons. Everything in moderation.

      And I know genetics plays a role, but George Burns lived longer than Jack LaLanne. Just saying.

      • 18thstreet - Feb 1, 2011 at 9:15 AM

        Can we cease with the use of “Nazis” as an epithet? Nazis weren’t in the business of trying to save lives. You only demean yourself, and not your imaginary opponents, through its use.

        As a former lobbyist for one of those public health groups that apparently deserves your scorn, let me just add that the major objections that our groups had to smokeless tobacco was the suggestion that it was a healthful alternative. (Not for nothing, but two of my supervisors and I are Jewish; some of us had relatives killed by real Nazis.)

        Secondly, the science behind second-hand smoke is thorough and accurate; the only people who dispute this have an axe to grind.

        Here’s the report on second-hand smoke from George W. Bush’s Surgeon General, Richard Carmona: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/

        Third, the warning labels on smokeless tobacco products are not the same as the warning labels on cigarettes. There are four:
        * WARNING: This product can cause mouth cancer.
        * WARNING: This product can cause gum disease and tooth loss.
        * WARNING: This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
        * WARNING: Smokeless tobacco is addictive.

        Which of these warning labels do you find silly?

  3. b7p19 - Jan 31, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    My question is whether or not banning chew would be an issue that needed to be taken to the players union.

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