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Group asks major leaguers to spit out the chewing tobacco

Mark DeRosa #7 of the San Francisco Giants uses smokeless tobacco during warm ups prior to playing the Los Angeles Dodgers on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Jeremy Hobson: Tonight is the first night of the World Series, which this year will be played by the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. We'll have to wait and find out who wins, but we do know of a loser already: one of baseball's oldest habits, chewing tobacco. Health officials and four U.S. Senators have launched a campaign to keep smokeless tobacco, as it's called, off the field.

Marketplace's Jeff Tyler has the story.


Jeff Tyler: Advertising for chewing tobacco isn't allowed at Major League Baseball games. But players are essentially walking billboards, says Danny McGoldrick with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Danny McGoldrick: There's probably no better advertising to a young baseball fan than to watch their heroes using smokeless tobacco.

Consumers spent almost $5 billion on smokeless tobacco last year. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says many were kids.

Dick Durbin: Smokeless tobacco use among high school boys is skyrocketing in America. It has increased by 36 percent since 2003.

Sales to consumers of all ages increased by 7 percent last year. Advocates like McGoldrick want the baseball players' union to ban chewing tobacco on the field and in the dugout.

McGoldrick: Players would no longer be serving as a marketing vehicle for this deadly product.

McGoldrick says smokeless tobacco doesn't need any help; it spends half a billion dollars a year on marketing.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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