Why Many Sportsmen Chew Tobacco?

Published on November 11th, 2009 13:01
chewing tobacco

Chewing tobacco is often associated with athletes - baseball players, hockey players, rodeo riders, and soccer players. As it is know in this year played a handful of players on both the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies, and they were seeing with a wad of tobacco in their mouths.

In the mid-19th century chewing tobacco was extremely popular in the United States. Early ballplayers liked chewed tobacco for the same reasons as other American men, but they soon found baseball-specific advantages. It’s not wondering that chewing tobacco has become identified with baseball. Both hobbies came of age when America was trying to isolate itself, politically and culturally, from mother England. But in that period most of people used to smoke pipe. Pipe smoking was the preferred tobacco delivery method in both regions until the 18th century, when sophisticated Englishmen became charmed of snuff, finely ground tobacco powder that they inhaled through the nose.

Even Charles Dickens, who visited the United States in 1842, referred to Washington as “the headquarters of tobacco tinctured saliva”. The chewing habit hit its high-water mark in 1890, when the usual American consumed through more than 3 pounds of tobacco. At that point, baseball already had two professional leagues and a players’ union. But tobacco chewing faded fast among the general population over the next decade, after German microbiologist Robert Koch showed that spitting contributed to the spread of tuberculosis.

Major cities passed anti-spitting laws and removed cuspidors from public places just before the turn of the century. Cigarettes, whose retail price was halved by the 1880 discovery of an automated rolling machine, surpassed chewing tobacco in popularity in 1918. Ballplayers lagged behind in making the switch. Besides the utility of a little extra spit, many players were suspicious of smoking. Several trainers blamed tired and hitting slumps on cigarettes.

But the rate of smokeless tobacco use among ballplayers did start to decrease in the early 20th century, but change was slow. There was even a revival of the practice starting in the late-1960s, after the federal government began touting the dangers of cigarettes. For example professional baseball has made some efforts to reduce the use of chewing tobacco.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer Copyright © 2010 TobaccoPub. All rights reserved.

Related tags: tobacco | smokeless tobacco | smoking products | smoke | pipe | cigarette

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