Major League Baseball lost a Hall of Fame outfielder, Tony Gwynn, to salivary gland cancer at the age of 54. Gwynn was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. Other great ball players were diagnosed as well, including Babe Ruth, Brett Butler and Bill Tuttle. CNN reported on a survey in 1999, about 1/3 of rookies starting in the major leagues were already regular smokeless tobacco users. But in 2011 the MLB implemented rules related to smokeless tobacco products. MLB joined with the Major League Baseball Players Association to prohibit teams from providing tobacco to players. Players may no longer carry a tobacco tin or package in their uniforms at games or any time that fans are in the ballpark. Nor during televised interviews, team sponsored appearances, autograph signings and other events where fans are present.
Smokeless tobacco contains 28 carcinogens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is a known cause of oral cancer. Smokeless tobacco is primarily a male habit, the CDC says. In 2012, approximately 11% of high school boys used smokeless tobacco, and about 1.5% of girls did. Nationally, an estimated 6% adult men use smokeless tobacco, compared with just 1% of adult women. Only a modest decline has occurred since 2010.