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    Rinsing with salt water beats out swishing with mouthwash

    Thu, Aug 27, 2015


    Source: www.reviewjournal.com
    Author: John Przybys

    A bottle can be found on just about every bathroom countertop or in just about every medicine cabinet in America. But is incorporating an over-the-counter mouthwash into your daily oral hygiene routine worth it?


    Dr. Daniel L. Orr II, a professor and director of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine, says over-the-counter mouthwashes pose no health problems to those who use them sparingly.

    But Orr also notes that some over-the-counter mouthwashes contain more than 20 percent alcohol. That alcohol — in addition to being a potential poisoning danger to kids who might stumble upon it and drink it — also is “an irritant” to the gums and mouth, Orr says.

    “If you want to do a little experiment, you can just put any name brand (of mouthwash) into your mouth and just hold it there for a couple of minutes. It starts to burn and doesn’t feel good at all.”

    Over-the-counter mouthwashes usually are taken by consumers in an attempt to kill odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. But, Orr says, “mouthwash doesn’t really clean your mouth. It doesn’t debride like a toothbrush and floss do. So if you brush and floss correctly, there really shouldn’t be much need for mouthwash at all.”

    Also, Orr says, some studies indicate that “people who use it a lot — like taking it three times a day — have a slightly increased chance of oral cancer, other things being equal.”

    In addition, Orr says, there are studies that indicate that “mouthwash use can actually raise your blood pressure a little bit. We’re talking maybe two or three points. That might not be a big deal, but why do it?”

    The bottom line: Using an over-the-counter mouthwash to refresh one’s mouth “once a day probably is not a big deal,” and studies that point to adverse reactions tend to involve the more chronic use of mouthwash three or so times a day.

    Note, too, that there are nonalcohol over-the-counter mouthwashes on the market, and that dentists often recommend specialized mouth rinses in treating specific dental problems. And while strong over-the-counter preparations may be iffy additions to an oral hygiene regimen, “rinsing is good,” Orr says.

    “For instance, I’m an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and when you take out a tooth, you can’t mechanically debride that socket very well,” he says. “So after I take out a tooth, I recommend rinsing, and what I recommend 90 percent of the time is warm salt water.”

    So try rinsing with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of water, Orr says. “It kills bacteria and keeps (the mouth) clean.”

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    HPV DNA detected in mouthwash predicts oral cancer recurrence

    Thu, Aug 27, 2015


    Source: www.onclive.com
    Author: Kelly Johnson

    The presence of HPV16 DNA is common at diagnosis of HPV-related oropharyngeal carcinoma (HPV-OPC) but rare after treatment. HPV-OPC has a favorable prognosis; however, 10% to 25% of patients experience disease progression, usually within 2 years of treatment.

    Patients who have HPV 16 DNA in their saliva following treatment of their oropharyngeal cancer are more likely to have their cancer recur, and a prospective cohort study published in JAMA Oncology has shown that a simple mouth rinse can be used to detect it.


    Gypsyamber D’Souza

    Gypsyamber D’Souza, PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and fellow researchers monitored 124 patients with newly diagnosed oropharyngeal cancer from 2009 through 2013. They collected oral rinse and gargle samples using 10 mL of mouthwash at the time of diagnosis as well as after treatment 9, 12, 18, and 24 months later.

    HPV16 DNA was detected in 67 out of 124 of the participants testing positive. Of the 67 patients who had HPV16 DNA in their saliva at the time of diagnosis, five patients (7%) were found to still have traces of HPV16 in their oral rinses following treatment.

    All five patients developed a local recurrence of oropharyngeal cancer, three of whom died from the disease.

    “It’s a very small number so we have to be somewhat cautious,” said D’Souza, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School and a member of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, in a statement. However, “The fact that all of the patients with persistent HPV16 DNA in their rinses after treatment later had recurrence meant that this may have the potential to become an effective prognostic tool.”

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    Teen E-Cig Users More Likely to Smoke

    Fri, Aug 21, 2015


    Source: www.newswise.com

    Newswise — As e-cigarette usage among high school students continues to climb, a recent study from The Journal of the American Medical Association reveals an unsettling trend: that adolescent e-cigarette users are more likely than their non-vaping peers to initiate use of combustible tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars and hookahs. The reason may lie in a common denominator between e-cigarettes and their combustible counterparts: nicotine.

    While the study hints that more research is needed to determine if this association is merely casual, it’s important to note that while e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, the battery-powered devices do deliver nicotine in aerosol form.

    “Nicotine’s addictive properties are a risk for any age group, but with adolescents, the stakes are even higher,” says Dr. K. Vendrell Rankin, director of Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry’s Tobacco Treatment Services.

    For teens, mental health as well as key emotional and cognitive systems are at stake.

    “Major cognitive functions and attention performance are still in the process of developing during adolescence,” says Rankin, also a professor and associate chair in public health sciences at TAMBCD. “Nicotine increases the risk of developing psychiatric disorders and lasting cognitive impairment and is associated with disturbances in working memory and attention. Reliance on nicotine to manage negative emotions and situations impairs the development of coping skills.”

    In addition to affecting the emotional and cognitive development of teens, nicotine is highly addictive. In fact, the younger a person is when they begin using nicotine, the more likely they are to become addicted and the stronger the addiction may become. According to the American Lung Association, of adults who smoke, 68 percent began smoking at age 18 or younger.

    In other words, the younger users are when they try or start using nicotine, the more nicotine receptors they will have and the more they may struggle with nicotine cravings throughout  their lives.

    “Everybody has a certain amount of nicotine receptors in the brain,” Rankin says. “When you start smoking, vaping or supplying nicotine to them, they multiply. If you stop smoking or vaping, the receptors don’t go away.”

    Nicotine use very quickly escalates into addiction, even when dealing with tobacco-free, odorless “vaping” associated with e-cigarettes. That’s because nicotine in any form triggers the release of neurotransmitters such as adrenaline and dopamine, which dramatically impacts a number of body systems. Dopamine floods the brain, and nicotine cravings increase.

    This includes spit, or smokeless tobacco, which in the past was promoted as a replacement to smoking. The result: The creation of a large group that began using spit tobacco as a smoking replacement but eventually became dual users.

    “We are seeing the same phenomena with the e-cigarette,” says Rankin. To better understand the similar association between e-cigarettes and combustible tobacco product use among teens, Rankin says further research could be replicated on a national level, as the study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association focused on Los Angeles high school students.

    E-cigarette companies currently advertise their products to a broad audience that includes 24 million youths, and proposed U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations would not limit e-cigarette marketing. Bold marketing tactics, celebrity endorsements, endless flavor choices and a plethora of online videos instructing users on how to mix their own e-cigarette liquid, or “e-juice,” have only added fuel to the fire. There currently are no federal laws in place to restrict minors from purchasing e-cigarettes.

    There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. In April, the FDA released the details of a proposal to extend its tobacco authority to e-cigarettes, including minimum age and identification restrictions intended to prevent sales to minors. A final ruling is slated for summer 2015.

    In the meantime, many Texas cities have set their own regulations and ordinances banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Any e-cigarette regulation in Texas will have to occur city by city, Rankin says, since the state doesn’t have comprehensive smoke-free laws.

    “I don’t think e-cigarettes are going to drop off,” Rankin says. “It’s the newest — or most popular — kid on the block right now.”

    *This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

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    Rodeo Competitor Speaks to Youth to Spread Anti-Tobacco Message

    Fri, Aug 14, 2015



    Source: www.prnewswire.com
    Author: Oral Cancer Foundation
    Unknown-1Cody Kiser prepares for competition while sporting the Oral Cancer Foundation’s message – Be Smart. Don’t Start.


    NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Aug. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The traditional image of the American cowboy is one of strength, rugged determination and courage. In the world of professional rodeo competition, that image is no different. Cowboys—and increasingly so cowgirls—are held in esteem and looked at as heroes by young and old alike. The power of the cowboy as a compelling figure has not gone unnoticed by the tobacco industry, whose marketing campaigns have sought to tie the ideals of the cowboy with the use of their products. The western/rodeo environment in the US has had a long-term relationship with tobacco, and until 2009 The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and the rodeos that they sanctioned had a lengthy history of tobacco money funding the sport. While that has ended at PRCA events, tobacco use and smokeless/spit tobaccos are still popular within the sport.

    The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) believes that in order to solve problems you must engage the problem at the source. As a small and growing non-profit, OCF is not afforded the luxury of relying on conventional methods of outreach utilized by larger, more established charities. To enact meaningful change and bring awareness to the public, OCF must employ ingenuity and creativity to address the problems at hand. Within the world of professional rodeo, that problem remains to be the glorification and pervasive use of tobacco products amongst athletes and fans. The Oral Cancer Foundation is the first non-profit charity to ever sponsor a rodeo competitor, and in doing so is able to introduce a new type of role model into the rodeo world.

    In 2014 OCF partnered with Cody Kiser, a young, personable, up and coming bareback bronc rider to promote the foundation’s anti-tobacco campaign. As a spokesperson for the foundation Cody hopes to serve as a positive role model for children and teens that look up to cowboys as their heroes in the rodeo world. Research shows that as many as 15% of high school boys use smokeless tobacco in the United States. With the nicotine content in a can of dip equaling approximately that of 80 cigarettes, this addiction can be one of the hardest to break, which is why The Oral Cancer Foundation hopes to educate parents and youth about the dangers before they even get started.

    On June 11th Cody attended the Montana High School Rodeo Association’s (MHSRA), reACT Tobacco Free Rodeo Finals, in Kalispell, MT, speaking to youth and their parents. ReACT Tobacco Free Rodeo is a campaign sponsored by the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program empowering teens to take a stand against tobacco and honoring rodeo athletes who pledge to live tobacco free. This year reACT awarded five MHSRA Seniors with $5,000 scholarships towards their college educations, and 14 high-scoring student athletes received breast collars in recognition of their achievements and commitments to living tobacco free.

    As motivational speaker, Cody discussed how Rodeo culture has been inundated by tobacco companies, and how this is a new generation that can make a difference by taking a stand against tobacco companies that use the country way of life to market a deadly product. The forty-five minute presentation focused on how living a tobacco-free lifestyle has assisted Cody in making good choices and accomplishing his dreams. Cody stressed to the teens in attendance that they each had a choice, and in choosing to live tobacco free they also had the power to fulfill their own dreams and enact meaningful change.

    While adults certainly have the right to make any lifestyle choice they desire, they inadvertently expose impressionable young people to what are sometimes harmful habits through poor examples like the use of tobacco products. This is particularly harmful as kids look up to athletes, not just in rodeo, but major league baseball and elsewhere, as heroes that they aspire to be like. Unfortunately, no hero is ever perfect. OCF uses its Rodeo Campaign to put alternative role models out in the world of rodeo cowboy athletes, with the intention of reaching young people before they make addictive choices that will harm them later in life. The foundation’s message is simple and straightforward: Be Smart. Don’t Start.

    About the Oral Cancer Foundation

    The Oral Cancer Foundation, founded by oral cancer survivor Brian R. Hill, is an IRS registered non-profit 501(c)(3) public service charity that provides information, patient support, sponsorship of research, and advocacy related to this disease. Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers that fall into the head and neck cancer category. Common names for it include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, head and neck cancer, and throat cancer. OCF maintains a web site at http://www.oralcancer.org, which receives millions of hits per month. Supporting the foundation’s goals is a scientific advisory board composed of leading cancer authorities from varied medical and dental specialties, and from prominent educational, treatment, and research institutions in the United States.

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    AstraZeneca joins the world of immunotherapy against cancer

    Thu, Aug 13, 2015


    Source: www.youthhealthmag.com
    Author: staff

    Cancer drug companies have been fighting lately in a completely different and interesting arena: immunotherapy. The competition is indeed heating up that firms such as AstraZeneca are willing to pay millions of dollars for promising treatments. AstraZeneca, through its research company called MedImmune, has just recently announced its decision to purchase a novel drug INO-3112 from Inovio, based in Pennsylvania, for a staggering price tag of $727 million.

    INO-3112 is a drug for immunotherapy, a new way of combating cancer by boosting the body’s immune system. This then allows the antibodies and specific cells to fight off the tumor. The treatment may also provide synthetic proteins to boost the body’s fighting chance.

    MedImmune believes that with the proper immunotherapy protocol for the patient, conventional methods such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which have plenty of serious risks, can now be significantly reduced, if not eliminated. In fact, patients may no longer have to go through surgery, which is a common first-line treatment.

    While AstraZeneca already has immunotherapy products in the market, the acquisition of INO-3112 will make it an instrument for combination therapies.

    As for Inovio, the drug, which is still not approved, is currently in the advanced stages of the clinical trials. It will be intended for treating head and neck cancers, as well as cervical cancer. While there are already cervical cancer vaccines, they cite the rather poor record of them. Their drug, on the other hand, will work on modifying DNA sequencing that will trigger the manufacture of certain T-cells, which will then curb tumor growth.

    So far, MedImmune has already paid its down payment of $27.5 million. The remaining amount will be given as the research and drug reach certain milestones. The company will also pay for the research.

    The partnership is also set to increase the revenues of Inovio as it receives a share in the drug’s sale. Both will also be working on cancer vaccines.

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    Professor creates a tool to help diagnose certain cancers early

    Thu, Aug 13, 2015


    Source: www.portsmouth.co.uk
    Author: staff

    Professor Peter Brennan from Portsmouth has been appointed as the 2016 president of the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He has been given a £30,000 president fund, and has chosen to use the cash to benefit not only patients in Portsmouth, but around the country. He is writing a book and online tool which will be sent to every GP practice in England. It will assist GPs in spotting warning signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer and other tumour issues that could be fatal.

    Prof Brennan, a consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Portsmouth Hospitals Trust, explained: ‘It can be very hard for non-specialists to detect and diagnose problems, including cancer, in the head and neck. I know that a tool like this will be really beneficial for doctors.

    ‘I’m delighted to have been elected as president of the surgical association for next year, and I thought long and hard about what to use the grant for.

    ‘It is designed to be used for the advancement of a speciality, and I wanted to use the money in a way which would have the biggest impact on patients.

    ‘I’m confident that this will make a real difference, and am looking forward to seeing it being rolled out across the country.’

    The scheme has the approval of the Royal College of General Practitioners, the professional body for family doctors in the UK.

    Professor Brennan added: ‘The feedback that I had from RCGP is that they love the idea, and are delighted to get involved and endorse it. It’s a very exciting time.’

    The book and e-learning tool will be shared with the more than 10,000 GP practices around the country. It is hoped that they will be sent out early next year.

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    The case for funding the HPV vaccine for boys

    Tue, Aug 11, 2015


    Source: www.thespec.com
    Author: Camilla Cornell, Hamilton Spectator

    If Tiffany Bond could have had her 25-year-old son inoculated against the human papilloma virus (HPV), she’d have done it in a heartbeat. After all, Bond knows well the pain HPV virus can cause.

    Eight years ago, at age 39, Bond flicked back her long hair and touched a lump in her throat. Her doctor’s diagnosis? Bond had oral pharynx cancer — a type of throat cancer caused by the HPV virus. Worse, the cancer had spread into her lymph nodes. She began a seven-week regimen of radiation and chemotherapy treatments so intense that Bond couldn’t eat a thing. She was fed through tubing in her stomach for months and lost about a third of her body weight.

    “I was sick to my stomach every day for seven weeks,” Bond says. “There came a point where I just gave up — I wanted to die. It was horrific for my son to watch.”

    The good news, says Joanne Di Nardo, a spokesperson for the Ontario branch of the Canadian Cancer Society: There is an HPV vaccine that is 100 per cent effective against many forms of HPV. The bad news? Although all provincial governments administer the vaccine free to girls, in many provinces boys don’t have the same privilege. Only Alberta, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and P.E.I. (either currently or will soon) offer the vaccine free to boys.

    “We really need to do some catching up here in Ontario,” says Di Nardo. “Boys are just as much at risk as girls are when it comes to getting HPV-related cancers.”

    Bond sees it as a prevention issue. Most people — like her — don’t even know they’ve been exposed to HPV, she says, so it’s easy to pass back and forth. And yet, points out Eduardo Franco, chair of the department of oncology at McGill University, “about one in 20 of all human cancers are caused by one or more of the different strains of human papillomavirus.”

    Cervical cancer in women is the most significant, Franco says, but HPV is also associated with genital and anal cancers in men and women, as well as vulva or vaginal cancer and penile cancer. And oral pharyngeal cancer — diagnosed three times more often in men than in women — is rapidly gaining ground. “We’re seeing an upsurge of pharyngeal and oral cavity cancer because of oral HPV transmission,” confirms Franco.

    The vaccine would do double duty, he says, by preventing cancers directly in the vaccinated boys, and also by extending “herd protection” to society generally.

    “It would be interrupting the chain of transmission both for men and women,” Franco says, “because even those who aren’t vaccinated will eventually have decreased probability of having sex with someone who has been infected.”

    Vaccinating boys against HPV is particularly important in provinces like Ontario, says Franco, because only about 60 per cent of girls are vaccinated, compared to 85 per cent in Quebec.

    On the plus side, the cost of the HPV vaccine has dropped in recent years, from about $130 per dose to $100 per dose. And at the beginning of this year, the National Advisory Commission on Immunization recommended that for young people, ages 9 to 14, only two doses are needed over a six-month period, instead of the previously recommended three.

    If girls got two doses of the vaccine instead of three and the government reaped the economies of scale associated with bulk buying for both boys and girls, that would make it cost-effective to vaccinate boys, points out Franco.

    As it stands now, says Di Nardo, if you want to have “your young men” vaccinated, you’ll pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket. Di Nardo believes that policy is short-sighted and urges people to contact their MPPs about the issue or to visit the CCS’s advocacy site (takeaction.cancer.ca). “If you have a vaccine to prevent cancer, should we not all be getting it?” she asks. “Boys and girls.”

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    AstraZenica, Inovio strike deal to find HPV cancer vaccine

    Mon, Aug 10, 2015


    Source: www.philly.com
    Author: David Sell

    Local drugmakers – big and small – struck a deal to try to develop a vaccine to prevent a form of cervical, head and neck cancer.

     MedImmune, which is the biologics and research division with AstraZeneca, said Monday it will collaborate with Inovio Pharmaceuticals to develop an early stage cancer vaccine designed to treat human pappilomavirus.

     AstraZeneca will pay Inovio $27.5 million upfront. If the compound reaches development and commercial milestones, Inovio could get up to $700 million, along with “double-digit tiered royalties” on product sales. However, sales are a long way off because the compound is only in phase I and phase II of what is normally a three-phase clinical trial process.

     AstraZeneca is moving its headquarters from London to Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and has operations in Wilmington and Fort Washington. The MedImmune division is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md.

     Inovio is based in Blue Bell and its basic scientific premise is to use DNA to develop vaccines. unlike most current vaccines.

     The companies have worked together before. The compound at the heart of the latest deal is called INO-3112. The early clinical trials are examining cervical and head and neck camcers and the compound tries to generate “killer T-cell responses that are able to destroy HPV 16- and 18- driven tumors. These HPV types are responsible for more than 70 per cent of cervical pre-cancers and cancers, ” according to the statement.

    The full statement from AstraZeneca is here.

    *This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

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    Riders raise awareness for oral cancer

    Mon, Aug 10, 2015


    Source: Millard County Chronicle Progress
    Author: Doug Radunich

    Two traveling rodeo riders helped raise awareness for oral cancer at the Days of the Old West rodeo in Delta June 11-13.

    As a non-profit seeking to spread awareness of oral cancer and the dangers of starting terrible tobacco habits, the foundation teamed up with bareback bronco rider Cody Kiser, of Carson City, Nev., and barrel rider Carly Twisselman, of Paso Robles, Calif., in an effort to spread the word among the Rodeo circuit, which is one of the biggest arenas of tobaccos-using patrons. While others are focused on getting users to quit, the Oral Cancer Foundation is encouraging young people to avoid the habit that they may see one of their rodeo heroes engage in. The message of the foundation is simple and not confrontational: “Be Smart. Don’t Start”. This message was displayed at the recent rodeo in Delta.

    Also at the Delta rodeo, Kiser and Twisselman sported Oral Cancer Foundation logos and wording on their clothes and riding gear, while handing out free buttons, wristbands and bandanas. Both riders also gave autographs, talked and had pictures taken with young fans.

    Both riders, who will promote the message at different rodeos across the country, also competed in their respective riding events while in Delta.


    “It’s an awesome opportunity to use our platform, and it’s for a good cause and to put good message out there,” Twisselman said. “There are family members and friends and peers out there who chew tobacco, and in the rodeo world it’s still a big problem. There are still so many people who do it, and there’s that mentality that ‘if he’s the world champion and he does it’ maybe I should do it. We want to put out a better put message to kids and say they can still be successful and not have to chew.”

    Twisselman said there is a big focus on the positive aspects of not using tobacco.

    “We want to highlight all the good things that come from not using tobacco, and not just talk about the bad things from using it,” she said. “Another great thing about the foundation is we’re not trying to hammer the message into people or be pushy about it. We also want to reach people who haven’t started yet and try to save some lives.”

    Kiser also said he was excited to be part of the campaign.

    “We hand out pins and just try and talk to people as much as we can,” he said. “We want to get the word out there about cancer, and our main focus is on kids and teens. We really want to get to them before the pick up the habit. The slogan is ‘Be Smart Don’t Start.’

    According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancer is becoming an epidemic in the US. Rodeo has a historic tie to smokeless tobaccos, and if the problem is going to be addressed, the Oral Cancer Foundation has to do it where the problem thrives. Smokeless/spit tobacco is one of the historic causes of deadly oral cancers, and is more addictive than other forms of tobacco use.

    More on oral cancer facts can be found at www.oralcancer.org.

    *This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

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    Baseball and tobacco are a deadly mix

    Thu, Aug 6, 2015


    Source: www.bostonglobe.com
    Authors: Dr. Howard Koh & Dr. Alan C. Woodward
    ortiz copyUnhealthy as it looks: David Ortiz spat out his “chew” after flying out against Tampa Bay in Game 3 of the 2008 ALCS at Fenway Park.


    Search the web for the phrase “tobacco and baseball” and you’ll find an association that dates back almost to the beginning of the sport. In the late 1800s, tobacco companies debuted baseball cards in cigarette packs. By the early 1900s, Bull Durham was advertising its chewing tobacco product on outfield fences.

    Today, cigarette smoking is prohibited or restricted in all Major League parks. Still, players, coaches, and others use smokeless tobacco, often referred to as “chew” or “dip,” in virtually every stadium across the country. But tobacco that is “smokeless” is not “harmless.” It contains at least 28 carcinogens and causes oral, pancreatic, and esophageal cancer, along with serious health problems such as heart disease, gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth lesions.

    The longstanding link between tobacco and baseball has led to tragic outcomes, for players and young fans alike. Baseball legend Babe Ruth died at age 53 of throat cancer after decades of dipping and chewing. Last summer, former Red Sox pitching great Curt Schilling announced that he had been treated for oral cancer, which he attributed to three decades of chewing tobacco. Sadly, his news came shortly after the death of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, at age 54, after a lengthy fight with salivary gland cancer. Gwynn, too, attributed his cancer to longtime smokeless tobacco use.

    As physicians who have spent decades providing patient care and promoting public health, we believe it is time to make baseball tobacco free. Today, we are proud to join Mayor Marty Walsh as he announces a historic and lifesaving city ordinance to eliminate the use of smokeless and all other tobacco products at baseball venues and athletic fields. This includes Fenway Park.

    Approval of the rule would allow Boston to join San Francisco as the first two US cities to protect the future health of players, coaches, and fans in this way. It could also inspire other jurisdictions to consider similar action.

    Implementing this measure would also add to our city and state’s history of leadership in fighting tobacco. Massachusetts can boast one of the first tobacco prevention and cessation programs in the country (1993), a comprehensive smoke-free law (2004), and a series of tobacco tax increases to protect kids and fund public health. Although adequate funding for state tobacco control remains an ongoing challenge, these and other measures have dropped the Massachusetts youth smoking rate (10.7 percent in 2013) to nearly a third below the national average.

    Despite this progress, the national rate of smokeless tobacco use in high school has stayed disturbingly steady. In the US, nearly 15 percent of high school boys currently use smokeless tobacco. More than half a million youth try smokeless tobacco for the first time. Smokeless tobacco companies annually spend $435 million on marketing. A key message of such advertising is that boys can’t be real men unless they chew. Also, scores of Major League Baseball players who chew or dip in front of fans provide invaluable free advertising for the industry. Impressionable kids stand ready to imitate their every move.

    For too long, the tobacco industry has normalized and glamorized products that cause drug dependence, disability, and death. Leveraging the prestige and appeal of baseball has been an essential part of that strategy. It’s time for baseball to start a new chapter that reclaims tobacco-free parks as the new norm — and for Boston, home to so many sports achievements, to lead the way.

    Dr. Howard K. Koh is the former US Assistant Secretary for Health and former Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Heath. Dr. Alan C. Woodward, a former president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, is chair of Tobacco Free Mass.

    *This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

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