Two MLB players, Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg and Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Addison Reed have both vowed to end their use of the tobacco product after the death of Gwynn. Both individuals played for Gwynn when he was the coach at San Diego State University.
?I think it?s a disgusting habit, looking back on it,? Strasburg said. ?I was pretty naive when I started. Just doing it here and there, I didn?t think it was going to be such an addiction? Bottom line is, I want to be around for my family. This is something that can affect people the rest of your life.?
?It?s one of those things where I?ve done it for so long it?s just become a habit, a really bad habit,? Reed said. ?It was something I always told myself I would quit, like next month, and the next thing you know it?s been 6 or 7 years.?
Oral Health America is also taking a large step in raising awareness with NSTEP, the National Spit Tobacco Education Program. The group?s goal is to prevent potential users, especially young ones, from picking up the product while also helping those already addicted to quit.
According to NSTEP, ?millions of Americans put their health at risk by using spit tobacco products and almost half (46%) of new users are under 18 when they first try it.?
NSTEP's efforts have also translated onto the field. Not only is Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks a spokesperson for the organization, but NSTEP is also part of a coalition of organizations that influenced the limit on use of smokeless tobacco products in Major League ballparks in 2012, including preventing players from using smokeless tobacco products on the field and in front of fans and cameras.
For more information about NSTEP and its services, click here.