smokeless tobacco

Lawmaker proposes ‘smokeless tobacco’ ban at all baseball venues

Source: www.santacruzsentinel.com
Author: David E. Early, Bay Area News Group

For decades, Major League Baseball’s goofy love affair with chewing tobacco was so passionate that the gooey stuff was stocked by teams in clubhouses as surely as jocks and socks. Nearly all ball players had golf-ball-sized cheek bumps, and part of the show was spitting streams of saliva in dugouts from coast to coast.

But now the end may be near.

If a bill formally introduced in the state Capitol Tuesday becomes law, the use of “smokeless tobacco” will be banned in every baseball venue in the state — from San Jose sandlots to San Francisco’s AT&T Park. They would join minor league parks, which already outlaw it.

“This is all about helping young people. We want to stop youth from being exposed to cancer,” said freshman Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, author of the bill. “Kids emulate ball players. If they see them use it, they will use it as well.”

The legislation was touted Tuesday at news conferences in Sacramento and San Francisco, where leaders of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids took the podium. Their program, called “Knock Tobacco Out of the Park,” included commentary about oral cancer taking down beloved Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, a retired San Diego Padre, in 2014 at age 54. And now retired Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is battling cancer that he openly blames on his longtime chewing habit.

Opio Dupree, Thurmond’s chief of staff, said Tuesday that the penalties for violating the proposed ban have not yet been determined.

As news about the bill flew like foul balls on Tuesday, baseball players at spring training in Arizona Tuesday had a range of reactions.

Avid dipper Andrew Susac, the San Francisco Giants’ backup catcher, said he wasn’t too pleased. “I’ll have to quit,” Susac said. But, he quickly added, “it would be a good thing for me.”

“My mom and my future wife, they’re hassling me all the time to quit,” added Susac, 24, who tries not to chew on the field or in public.

Oakland Athletics pitcher Dan Otero, who doesn’t dip, said: “I think it will be good to deter young players from maybe getting started.”

In a statement Tuesday, Major League Baseball said it is in favor of getting rid of smokeless tobacco. “We have sought a ban of its use on-field in discussions with the Major League Baseball Players Association,” the statement said.

In the ‘90s, baseball announcer Joe Garagiola led the movement against chewing tobacco by teaming with retired major leaguer Bill Tuttle, who had mouth cancer. The pair traveled to ball parks to show the deformities — the loss of his teeth and gums, his jaw and his right cheekbone — Tuttle suffered from 40 years of chewing. He died in 1998.

While the players association had no response on Tuesday, Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free kids, said the bill is the start of a national movement by nine national organizations.

“California seemed like the logical place to start this effort. It has the most teams in baseball. But it’s also important because of the death of Tony Gwynn,” Myers said. “He just meant so much to baseball and California, and he made it very clear before he died that he didn’t want another generation of young people to follow him in using smokeless tobacco. We hope California can be a catalyst.”

Thurmond, 46, elected last fall in a special election, said he has devoted his life to protecting youth.

“My mom died from cancer when I was 6 years old,” he said.

Meanwhile at spring training, Giants pitcher Tim Hudson, a non-chewer, predicted a number of players will not go down easily and will test the limits of the regulations.

“It all depends on what the fines and penalties are going to be,” Hudson said. “Guys have habits and are pretty stubborn, and they make a lot of money in here. They can pay a lot of whatever fines they want to give them. That’s going to be the biggest challenge — catching guys. Guys are sneaky.”

February, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Great American Spit Out warns of new tobacco lures

Source: www.orlandosentinel.com
Author: Kate Santich, Orlando Sentinel

As anti-tobacco advocates celebrate today’s Great American Spit Out — the “chew” equivalent of the Great American Smoke Out — health officials warn that new dissolvable and flavored varieties of smokeless-tobacco products are targeting teens in a mission to get them hooked.

Newly released data from state health researchers show that, while cigarette smoking among Florida youth has reached an all-time low, smokeless tobacco use has been virtually unchanged for the past decade: roughly 5.5 percent among high school students statewide.

And it’s nearly 9 percent in some counties, including Lake.

“The tobacco industry is targeting us,” said Magi Linscott, a Pensacola-area 18-year-old named National Youth Advocate for 2014 by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “They’re trying to get a new generation of addicts.”

Recent product developments include colorfully packaged, kid-friendly flavors of tobacco-infused candy, mints, gum, breath strips and flavored toothpicks — all containing nicotine. Depending on the type, they are designed to be held in the mouth, chewed, or sucked until they dissolve and the juices swallowed.

Along with more traditional chew, snuff and a teabag-like pouch of finely ground tobacco called snus (“snoose”), smokeless products may lure users with a false sense of safety. Shannon Hughes, Tobacco Free Florida bureau chief, said young people — and their parents — may not realize the dangers of the products, which increase the risk of oral cancer by 80 percent.

“Adults think, ‘Well, at least they’re not smoking,'” Hughes said. “Yes, cigarettes do cause more systemic damage to the body. But smokeless tobacco dramatically increases the risk of oral cancer, which is horribly disfiguring, and a horrible way to die. The bottom line is: There’s no safe level of tobacco use.”

The Spit Out — aimed at raising awareness of the problem — is part of a national “Through with Chew Week.” But because no single agency sponsors the campaign, it lacks the name recognition of the Smoke Out, officials admit.

Still, Hughes and others said, the proliferation of smokeless products makes the message especially urgent.

Chew and snuff have long been popular among baseball players and in rural communities, where their use is sometimes a rite of passage. Among local high-school students surveyed last year, only 3.1 percent of those in Orange County said they currently used smokeless tobacco, while the rate was 4.2 in Osceola, 5.3 in Seminole and 8.9 percent in Lake.

Use is vastly more common for males than females and for whites than blacks or Hispanics.

“It’s part of the culture in certain areas,” Hughes said. “And it can be easier to conceal,” especially with the newer forms. It is also cheaper than cigarettes.

But the American Cancer Society warns that because U.S. tobacco sellers are not required to list what’s in their products, it’s hard to know exactly how hazardous the smokeless varieties can be.

The World Health Organization has identified at least 28 carcinogens in smokeless tobacco, and along with the heightened risk of oral cancer, there’s a 60 percent increase in the risk of esophageal and pancreatic cancers compared to non-users. The products also raise the risk of heart disease and fatal strokes and may impact reproductive health, Hughes said.

“And because youth are often most concerned with the immediate impact,” she said, “we point out that smokeless tobacco use can cause tooth decay, permanent discoloration of teeth and gingivitis leading to tooth loss.”

Perhaps most disconcerting is the increased likelihood of stepping up to more lethal forms of tobacco. Researchers found smokeless-tobacco users tend to experiment with smoking and are more likely to become addicted. The younger the user, scientists say, the more sensitivity to nicotine.

February, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Ring in the New Year by encouraging patients to quit tobacco use

Source: www.dentistryiq.com
Author: Maria Perno Goldie

The New Year always brings a sense of hope and conviction to improve our lives. New Year’s resolutions abound. With the New Year come new beginnings, fresh starts, and promises for a brighter future. We try to move on from the losses and trials of 2014, but we never forget. The people we’ve lost will be in our hearts forever, and the trials can be viewed as life lessons and opportunities.

As World Oral Health Day (WOHD) 2015 approaches, FDI World Dental Federation wants people to make a healthy New Year’s resolution and reduce their use of tobacco – or give it up completely – as part of the 2015 World Oral Health Day Smile for Life campaign.(1) Tobacco use can significantly increase the risk of many serious oral health problems, including oral cancer, periodontal disease, early tooth loss, tooth discoloration, oral malodor, and a reduced ability to taste and smell.

Dental and dental hygiene office visits can create an opportunities to help patients quit smoking and using tobacco, yet dental settings are often not used for treatment of tobacco dependence. The purpose of one study was to evaluate issues that may influence patterns of tobacco-use-related practice among a national sample of dental providers.(2) Researchers surveyed a representative sample of general dentists practicing in the U.S. More than 90% of dental providers reported that they regularly ask patients about tobacco use, 76% counsel patients, and 45% routinely offer cessation assistance. This was defined as referring patients for cessation counseling, providing a cessation prescription, or both. Results showed that cessation assistance was associated with having a practice with one or more dental hygienists, having a chart system that includes a tobacco use question, having received training on treating tobacco dependence, and having positive attitudes toward treating tobacco use.

Providers who did not offer assistance but reported they would change their practice patterns if they were sufficiently reimbursed were likely to be in a group practice, treat patients insured through Medicaid, and have positive attitudes toward treating tobacco dependence. The results indicated the benefit of increasing training opportunities and promoting changes to increase the involvement of dental providers in conducting tobacco use treatment. Reimbursement models should be tested to assess the effect on dental provider practice patterns.

The ADA issued a letter on “modified risk” tobacco products.(3) In a letter signed by the president and executive director, the ADA expressed to the FDA that “it is ‘virtually impossible’ to justify claims that smokeless tobacco and such newer generation products as electronic cigarettes and hookah tobacco ‘are somehow less harmful to the oral cavity than combustible tobacco products or without other adverse effects.’” The ADA strongly supports developing the published research on the latest generation of tobacco products and the short- and long-term effects of these products on oral health.

Last, but not last, there is a new report on smokeless tobacco. (4) Smokeless tobacco (ST) products present a multifaceted and extensive challenge to public health that has not been adequately addressed by researchers and policymakers. International tobacco control efforts have largely focused on cigarettes, and dedicated only limited attention to other types of products, including smokeless tobacco. This report addresses these issues.

References:
1. http://www.worldoralhealthday.com/fdi-calls-for-a-tobacco-free-new-year-and-a-long-lasting-smile-for-life/.
2. Jannat-Khah DP, McNeely J, Pereyra MR, et al. Dentists’ Self-Perceived Role in Offering Tobacco Cessation Services: Results From a Nationally Representative Survey, United States, 2010–2011. Prev Chronic Dis 2014; 11:140186. http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/14_0186.htm.
3. ADA News. December 5, 2014. http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2014-archive/december/ada-comments-on-modified-risk-tobacco-products.
4. National Cancer Institute and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smokeless Tobacco and Public Health: A Global Perspective. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. NIH Publication No. 14-7983; 2014.http://tobaksfakta.se/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/SmokelessTobaccoAndPublicHealth_AGlobalPerspective.pdf.

December, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Levels of cancer-causing chemicals in smokeless tobacco products influence carcinogen exposure

Source: www.healthcanal.com
Author: staff

Higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals called tobacco-specific nitrosamines in smokeless tobacco products led to greater exposure to these carcinogens even after taking into account how much or how long the product was used, according to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“Our results show that although the pattern of tobacco use—for example, amount of dip and number of dips—can influence the level of smokeless tobacco users’ exposure to tobacco-specific nitrosamines, the actual amount of these chemicals in the products also makes a significant difference,” said Dorothy K. Hatsukami, PhD, the Forster Family professor in cancer prevention in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

“The majority of smokeless tobacco users in the United States are not aware of the levels of cancer-causing chemicals in their smokeless tobacco products or of the tremendous variability in the levels of these chemicals across brands sold in this country,” continued Hatsukami. “At a minimum, the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] should provide smokeless tobacco consumers information about the different levels of cancer-causing chemicals in different brands of smokeless tobacco and, ideally, require levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines be substantially reduced, if not eliminated, in all products. Levels of these chemicals in smokeless tobacco products could be readily reduced by changing manufacturing practices.”

Levels of exposure to tobacco-specific nitrosamines are associated with disease risk, according to Hatsukami. Prior studies have shown that smokeless tobacco users in the United States experience about two to three times greater risks for oral cancer compared with those who do not use these products, she said. Pancreatic cancer has also been linked to smokeless tobacco use.

“Now that the FDA has the authority to establish product standards—that is, mandate the reduction of harmful and potentially harmful constituents in tobacco products—there has been greater interest in understanding how levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines in products relate to exposure,” said Hatsukami.

To study this, Hatsukami; Stephen Hecht, PhD, the Wallin professor of cancer prevention in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota; and their colleagues analyzed data from 391 adults from Minneapolis/St. Paul; Eugene, Oregon; and Morgantown, West Virginia, who used smokeless tobacco products daily. The smokeless tobacco brands used by different participants varied in nicotine and tobacco-specific nitrosamine content. Participants could not be current users of other tobacco or nicotine products.

At two assessment sessions, approximately one week apart, demographic information, smokeless tobacco-use history, and urine samples were collected from participants. Urine samples were analyzed for biomarkers of exposure to nicotine and the tobacco-specific nitrosamines N’-nitrosonornictoine (NNN) and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK).

Analysis showed that levels of biomarkers of NNN and NNK in users’ urine samples were independently positively correlated with the number of years of daily smokeless tobacco use, number of tins of smokeless tobacco used each week, mean daily dip duration, and levels of NNN and NNK in the smokeless tobacco products used. For every one unit (µg/g wet weight) increase of NNK and NNN in the smokeless tobacco product used, the estimated increase of the corresponding biomarkers was 32 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Note:
The study was supported by the National Cancer Institute. Hatsukami declares no conflicts of interest. Hecht served as an expert witness in a smokeless tobacco trial 10 years ago.

December, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Baseball, youth, and smokeless tobacco

Source: businesswest.com
Authors: Richard Pieters, M.D. & Anthony Giambardino, D.M.D.

The headlines first came with baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. His all-too-early death at 54 was attributed to the long-term use of smokeless tobacco. Now it’s former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who revealed on Aug. 20 that he was diagnosed in February with mouth cancer. “I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably,” said Schilling when making his condition public, “that chewing [tobacco] is what gave me cancer … I did it for 30 years. It was an addictive habit.” His physician agreed.

Many of us who grew up with the game are used to seeing players chewing tobacco, but a new generation of children watching in the stands and on television may be seeing smokeless tobacco used for the first time. They are the ones most influenced by what baseball players do both on and off the field. And that behavior by professional athletes can be more powerful in shaping behavior than any advertising campaign by the tobacco industry.

Although cigarette smoking in the U.S. continues to decline, a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the use of smokeless tobacco has held steady over the past nine years. CDC says 14.7% of high-school boys, and 8.8% of all high-school students, reported using smokeless products in 2013.

The CDC further states that smokeless tobacco contains 28 carcinogens, which can cause gum disease, stained teeth and tongue, a dulled sense of taste and smell, slow healing after a tooth extraction, and, worst of all, oral cancer.

Smokeless tobacco is not harmless. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it delivers more nicotine than cigarettes and stays in the bloodstream longer. Clearly, tobacco use is both a serious medical problem and an oral-health problem.

In a letter to baseball commissioner Bud Selig following the death of Tony Gwynn, nine leading healthcare organizations, including the American Medical Assoc. and the American Dental Assoc., stated that “use of smokeless tobacco endangers the health of major-league ballplayers. It also sets a terrible example for the millions of young people who watch baseball at the ballpark or on TV and often see players and managers using tobacco.”

Oral cancer continues to be a serious problem in the U.S. More than 30,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and the five-year survival rate is only around 50%. While a batting average of .500 would be considered outstanding in baseball, 50/50 odds aren’t very good in the game of life.

The connection between oral health and overall health is well-documented. What happens in the mouth can affect the entire body. Physicians are now being trained to examine the mouth and work with dentists to make patients more aware of the importance of oral health as it affects their overall health and well-being.

Programs such as the Mass. Dental Society’s Connect the Dots, in which physicians and dentists work together in the community, and the Mass. Medical Society’s establishment of a Committee on Oral Health mark the beginning of a growing relationship between physicians and dentists to promote oral health in the Commonwealth.

But oral cancer isn’t the only health risk from smokeless tobacco. Users have an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Many health issues are preventable, especially those related to tobacco use. The medical and dental professions can play a key role by providing education and screening for oral cancer.

Major-league baseball players have an important opportunity to contribute to this educational process by aiding in prevention efforts, particularly aimed at impressionable young people. For the past four years, the Mass. Dental Society, in partnership with NESN and the Boston Red Sox, has produced TV campaigns on the dangers of smokeless tobacco.

The Mass. Medical Society and the Mass. Dental Society are committed to reducing tobacco use in all its forms and welcome the continued participation of the Red Sox and all of major-league baseball. In 2014, chewing tobacco continues to be as much a symbol of baseball as the actual action on the field.

For the health of our children, shouldn’t this image of our national pastime now be considered past its time? The cases of Tony Gwynn and Curt Schilling should serve as a warning to us all.

Note:
Dr. Richard Pieters, a radiation oncologist at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, is president of the Mass. Medical Society. Dr. Anthony Giamberardino practices general dentistry in Medford and is president of the Mass. Dental Society.

September, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Curt Schilling Reveals his Diagnosis of Oral Cancer and Believes Chewing Tobacco was the Cause

Source: boston.com
Author: Steve Silva
 

Curt Schilling, the former Red Sox pitcher and ESPN analyst, announced today during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon that he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma — which is cancer in the mouth — in February.

“This all came about from a dog bite,” Schilling said. “I got bitten by a dog and I had some damage to my finger and I went to see a doctor, and the day that I went to see the doctor, I was driving and I went to rub my neck and I felt a lump on the left side of my neck. And I knew immediately it wasn’t normal. So there happened to be an ENT [Ear, Nose, and Throat] right next door to the hand doctor, and I thought what the heck, let me just stop in and see and so I waited in the office and went in there and they did the biopsy, and two days later, they diagnosed me with squamous cell carcinoma.

“You know what the amazing thing was? And I was just dumbfounded by it. You’ve just been told you have cancer and you walk out into the public and the world’s still going on and it was really a challenge to wrap my head around that. My second thought was, ‘Yeah, really, you think I can handle this too?’ So after a couple of tests, I got sent over to Brigham and Women’s and Dana-Farber and that’s where I met Dr. Haddad and the amazing team of people that got me through my treatment.”

Dr. Robert Haddad, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, described Schilling’s cancer.

“Commonly this is known as mouth cancer,” Dr. Haddad said. “This is the type of the cancer we call the squamous cell carcinoma. It’s cancer of the lining of the mouth and the lump in the neck is why most patients go to the doctor first, because they feel the lump in the neck so that’s the lymph node that’s enlarged and that’s the most common presentation for these cancers. It often presents as a lump in the neck that drives the patient to go see the doctor, and then the biopsy is done and then that shows squamous cell carcinoma, and that’s the type of the cancer.”

The 47-year-old Schilling — who weighed just over 200 pounds prior to his cancer diagnosis — lost 75 pounds during his treatment. Most of the weight loss was due to the fact that he was unable to swallow. He also has lost his ability to taste and smell.

The former Red Sox righthander stressed the importance of getting in for treatment early.

“One of the amazing things was early on when I was talking to [Dr. Haddad] about this, I literally went to see a doctor like five days after I felt the lump, he said the average time for a patient is 10 months,” Schilling said. “Ten months from the time they notice something to the time they say something. I can’t believe… people need to be more self-aware.

“I didn’t talk about it for two reasons. No. 1, I didn’t want to get into the chewing tobacco debate, which I knew was going to come about, which to me, I’ll go to my grave believing that was why I got what I got… absolutely, no question in my mind about that. And the second thing was I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I didn’t want the pity or any of that stuff because early on… I ended up spending about six months in the hospital because I had a bad reaction. I had a staph infection. I had what’s called C. diff. I had a couple different problems and there was a week there, there’s a week of my life I don’t remember while I was in the hospital going through this.

“The second or third day — I got chemo and radiation for seven weeks — and I came back to the room and my family was sitting there and I thought, ‘You know what, this could be so much worse. It could be one of my kids, it’s not. I’m the one guy in my family that can handle this,’ and so from that perspective it never, ever said ‘Why me? And I never will. I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably that chewing is what gave me cancer and I’m not going to sit up here from the pedestal and preach about chewing. I will say this: I did for about 30 years. It was an addictive habit. I can think of so many times in my life when it was so relaxing to just sit back and have a dip and do whatever, and I lost my sense of smell, my taste buds for the most part. I had gum issues, they bled, all this other stuff. None of it was enough to ever make me quit. The pain that I was in going through this treatment, the second or third day it was the only thing in my life that had that I wish I could go back and never have dipped. Not once. It was so painful.”

According to Schilling, the most painful part of the treatment was the radiation, which he received five days a week over seven weeks. Schilling’s doctors created a pliable mask to protect his face. Schilling called it “the straitjacket for when they are giving you radiation.”

“The first day I went in, they clamped [the mask] down, they do the radiation into the tumors,” Schilling said. “The second day they did it. And about the third day I started developing almost a phobia and I literally had to be medicated for the seven weeks to go and do that. I couldn’t control myself under the mask… If this happened again, I’m not sure if I would go through the treatment again, it was that painful.”

Dr. Haddad concurred that chewing tobacco leads to the mouth cancer Schilling was diagnosed with.

“One of the directs for oral cancer is smokeless tobacco, just what we’re talking about here,” Dr. Haddad said. “So it is not a question mark. This is shown repeatedly and the National Cancer Institute clearly makes the case that any form of tobacco is harmful and should not be used.”

Schilling spoke about the day he found out about Tony Gwynn’s death. Gwynn – a Hall of Famer — died of salivary gland cancer on June 16 at the age of 54. Gwynn blamed his mouth cancer on his habit of dipping smokeless tobacco during his 20-year career with the San Diego Padres.

“I knew a while ago that things were not going well just because he went radio silent after everything that happened,” Schilling said. “From the people I talked to, he was in very, very bad shape at the end. Again, I got lucky. There’s so may other places this could have come up and they could have had to take half my jaw. I met a guy — so I was Brigham and Women’s palliative care floor, the fifth floor, which is kind of a new thing and an amazing thing — who had, smoker, who had cancer of the mouth and they had to cut off half of his tongue and they went down and grafted from his forearm and rebuilt it back. Just the stuff was mind boggling…

“I’ve seen Dana-Farber from the other side. As someone who’s been around spring training with the kids. I’ve been over there and visited a couple of times, but being on this side of it was mind boggling.”

Schilling spoke about what lies ahead for him from hereon out.

“I’m in remission,” he said. “Doc and I are going to be meeting each other on and off for the next five years. It’s the recovery that’s a challenge because there are so many things that are damaged during the process. I don’t have any salivary glands so I can’t taste anything and I can’t smell anything right now so and there’s no guarantee they’ll come back.”

Dr. Haddad stressed that these types of cancers are treatable and that his sense of taste and smell should come back.

“Without discussing this specific case, in head and neck cancers or cancers of the mouth, these are treatable cancers, these are curable cancers in a large percentage of patients,” Dr. Haddad said. “But the treatment is very tough, it’s very grueling, a lot of side effects. Those side effects are acute, meaning they happen [during] the first year of treatment like we’re seeing now with Curt: the dry mouth and the trouble swallowing and eating, the infections, and there’s the long-term side effects, So that is the recovery process that can take up to five years but these cancers are treatable, are curable, they do require a lot of specialties coming together.”

Clay Buchholz and Dustin Pedroia, two Red Sox stars with young children, addressed their chewing habit at Fenway Park in June.

“Cancer runs in my family,” said Buchholz, as he sat in front of his locker with a wad of smokeless tobacco wedged between his lower lip and gums. “There’s been people that have never smoked a cigarette or had a dip or chew and they’ve died of lung cancer.

“Everybody here is a grown man, and I think that’s how everybody views it. I don’t dip during the offseason, it’s only during baseball. It’s more of a stress-reliever type of thing for me.”

I’m trying to stop,” said Pedroia. “It’s not a good habit. It’s one of those things, you try like heck. I wish I had never started.

“Everyone crushes me about it. You don’t want any kid to start doing it. Obviously, it’s addicting. It’s not good for you and can cause a lot of problems.

“You try the best you can to stop or not start it. It’s like any bad habit. People do things that aren’t good for you. A lot of things can hurt yourself, whether its drinking or tobacco. It’s hard to stop. I’ve stopped a few times and started back up. But I’ve cut back a lot.”

“I’m addicted to it, former Sox pitcher Josh Beckett told the Los Angeles Times after Gwynn’s death. “It’s more than just the nicotine. Its the oral fixation. I don’t think anyone does it just for the nicotine thing, or wed probably all be on the patch.”

The 2011 labor agreement between the players’ union and Major League Baseball included certain limits on the use of smokeless tobacco, but did not ban its use entirely. Players are not allowed to carry tobacco packages in their uniform pockets, and tobacco use during televised interviews and non-game functions is prohibited. Also, teams cannot provide tobacco for players.

In June, nine major medical and public health organizations have written to MLB and the players’ union urging them to agree to a complete prohibition on tobacco use at ballparks and on camera.

In April, Schilling’s wife Shonda, herself a melanoma survivor, tweeted that Schilling had finished radiation.

On Facebook that month, Schilling wrote, To the many, many amazing folks at Dana Farber, [Brigham and Women’s Hospital] and [Massachusetts General Hospital], thank you and to the amazing team these last 5 months. I’ve been told my cancer is in remission, start the 5-year clock.

In May, a weakened Schilling took the field at Fenway as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the 2004 championship team. Schilling was aided onto the field by his son Gehrig and said he was back in the hospital two days later.

“I was in the hospital at the time, and they wouldn’t let me come over here and go back,” Schilling said. “So I had to determine if I was OK and ready to be discharged and I said ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, OK,’ and two days later I was back in the hospital. That’s why Gehrig walked out with me because I was afraid I was going to fall on the way in because I was so discombobulated. But it was nice. It was good to see the guys.”

On June 25, Schilling tweeted: “As of yesterday I am in remission. Start the 5 year clock!”

Schilling, who spent four seasons of his 20-year major league career with the Red Sox and was instrumental in their World Series victories in 2004 and ’07, joined ESPN as a studio analyst for ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” in 2010.

In December, he was chosen to replace Orel Hershiser for the high-profile role as a color analyst on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcasts alongside Dan Shulman and John Kruk.

Schilling pitched for five teams during his major league career, winning 216 games and compiling 3,116 strikeouts. He made six All-Star teams, won at least 21 games in a season three times — including in 2004 with the Red Sox. He won his first of three World Series titles with the 2001 Diamondbacks.

Schilling had found his niche as an analyst after enduring some difficult times in recent years. A video game business suffered a prominent and costly failure in Rhode Island, one that cost the state tens of millions of dollars and Schilling the bulk of his baseball fortune. He revealed to the Globe’s Stan Grossfeld in an August 2013 story that he suffered a heart attack in November 2011 that required surgery to implant a stent in an artery.

 
*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.
August, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Oral Cancer Foundation, Cody Kiser partner for Idaho rodeo

Source: www.drbicuspid.com
Author: DrBicuspid Staff

The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) is partnering with Cody Kiser, a rodeo cowboy who will serve as a spokesman for the group, at the Snake River Stampede Rodeo, held July 15-19 in Nampa, ID.

Kiser 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 U.S. 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 OCF hopes to educate parents and youth about the dangers before they get started.

“My dad was a cowboy, so I know what it’s like looking up to cowboys as heroes for my whole life,” Kiser stated in a press release. “My dad was a positive role model in my life growing up in that regard, and the idea of using spit tobacco never appealed to me. Right now, I’m pursuing rodeo as a passion of mine, and if at the same time I can do some good in the world and set the right example for young kids who might look up to me, then I’m honored and eager to do so.”

“Every kid has a hero they look up to, and whether it’s a cowboy, baseball player, or other strong figure in their lives; even heroes can still have some aspect of their life that is less than a perfect example to follow,” explained Brian Hill, OCF founder and executive director. “We are excited to partner with Cody and venture into the rodeo arena because we believe we can make a real difference there.”

“Cody is a great partner for us,” Hill continued, “This is the first time a nonprofit is really going into a world that is very much tied to the use of smokeless tobacco and proactively advocating against it. Our messaging to youth is simple: ‘Be Smart. Don’t start.’ “

Tony Gwynn’s untimely death, baseball contemplates issues with tobacco

Source: USA TODAY
Published: June 20, 2014
By: Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY Sports

 

OAKLAND – Tony Gwynn’s multitude of accomplishments, career batting average of .338 and his pioneering use of video earned him the rapt attention of players whenever he talked baseball.

Major League Baseball hopes an even more important message he’s delivering posthumously sinks in as well.

Gwynn, who died of mouth cancer Monday at 54, speaks out against smokeless tobacco use in a taped segment of an informational video MLB is producing and plans to release this season. The Hall of Fame outfielder believed he developed cancer because of his years-long habit of using spit tobacco, although that was never medically confirmed.

Whether Gwynn’s untimely death and his stance against smokeless tobacco will curtail its use among players remains an open question.

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Research by the Pro Baseball Athletic Trainers Society revealed the number of major leaguers who use spit tobacco has declined from about 50% to 33% in the last 20 years.

However, that’s still about 10 times the amount in the general population, according to the American Cancer Society, whose data from 2012 showed 3.5% of Americans 12 and older – or 9 million – use the highly addictive product.

“It’s definitely ingrained and something that’s part of our baseball culture, but it’s not exclusive to baseball,” said Oakland Athletics first baseman Brandon Moss, a non-user. “You would hope a figure like (Gwynn), something tragic like that happening, would be a wake-up call for everyone, not just those in baseball. … But most guys are probably going to look at it as the loss of a great man and a great baseball player and leave it at that.”

Indeed, the stance among players seems to be that they’re aware of the dangers but, like smoking, it’s up to every individual to decide whether to use what remains a legal product.

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The National Cancer Institute says in its website that smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 chemicals that have been found to cause cancer – typically of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas – and may also lead to heart disease, gum disease and oral lesions.

“People understand the risks involved and still choose to do it,” Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “We all do stupid things, whatever your vice happens to be. People may criticize these guys for dipping, and then somebody’s texting and driving.”

And while Gwynn’s passing was lamented throughout the game, it doesn’t figure to be interpreted by many players – who are usually in their 20s or early 30s, with the concomitant sense of invincibility – as a cautionary tale.

“It’s one of those things that’s scary and obviously you hope you’re not the one,” said A’s catcher Stephen Vogt, who said he dips once in a while. “I don’t think it’s good. I definitely don’t advocate it, but at the same time, it’s an adult decision.”

Baseball has taken steps to sway that decision, or at least make the practice less visible to minimize the impact on young fans.

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The current collective bargaining agreement, in effect from 2012-16, bans players, managers and coaches from using smokeless tobacco during TV interviews and team appearances. And they have to keep tobacco products out of sight while fans are at the ballpark.

In addition, MLB and the players union have stepped up educational efforts, and teams – which in the past freely distributed cans of dip in the clubhouse – can no longer do so and are now required to administer oral exams as part of the spring training physicals every year.

Longtime TV announcer Joe Garagiola, who quit his smokeless tobacco habit in his 30s, made it his life’s mission to warn other baseball folks about its dangers, making presentations during spring training alongside former major league outfielder Billy Tuttle, who died of oral cancer at 69 in 1998.

“I don’t think we talk about it enough anymore,” says Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. “I remember as a young A-ball manager, Joe Garagiola would always come around in spring training with Bill Tuttle. It was scary.

“And I still see people chewing tobacco. Not only in the big leagues, but you still see kids in junior high and high school.

For me, it’s not enough yet. It’s a shame.”

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Indeed, the sight of players constantly spitting, some sporting a large wad of tobacco inside their cheek, remains one of the game’s enduring images.

“Every spring training we have a guy that comes in who’s had mouth cancer through tobacco,” Rangers utilityman Donnie Murphy said. “So you see it. But at the same time, it’s like an addiction thing. You do it for so long, you’re going to want to keep doing it.”

Players say using smokeless tobacco provides a form of relaxation and becomes part of their routine in a daily sport with lots of down time.

And with amphetamines now banned from baseball, the jolt of energy from the nicotine in the tobacco – absorbed during a longer stretch through dip or chew than by smoking – can help players navigate the season’s six-month grind.

Commissioner Bud Selig has expressed a desire to banish smokeless tobacco from the majors the same way MLB barred it from the minors starting in 1993. But the issue is subject to collective bargaining and the players association has declined, opting to protect personal freedoms and emphasize education.

“The MLBPA discourages the use of smokeless tobacco products by its members or by anyone else. These products carry serious health risks, yet remain legally and widely available,” union spokesman Greg Bouris said via e-mail. “In general terms, included in the smokeless tobacco policy negotiated in 2011 are restrictions/prohibitions on its use, increased emphasis on education and cessation programs, as well as oral examinations. At this point in time, player education continues to be a focus of ours.”

Contributing: Paul White in Washington

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

June, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Hall of Famer and ‘Mr. Padre’ Tony Gwynn dies at 54 from Oral Cancer

Source: abcnews.go.com
Author: Bernie Wilson
 

Tony Gwynn could handle a bat like few other major leaguers, whether it was driving the ball through the “5.5 hole” between third base and shortstop or hitting a home run off the facade in Yankee Stadium in the World Series.

He was a craftsman at the plate, whose sweet left-handed swing made him one of baseball’s greatest hitters.

Gwynn loved San Diego.

San Diego loved “Mr. Padre” right back.

Gwynn, a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest athletes in San Diego’s history, died Monday of oral cancer, a disease he attributed to years of chewing tobacco. He was 54.

“Our city is a little darker today without him but immeasurably better because of him,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in a statement.

In a rarity in pro sports, Gwynn played his whole career with the Padres, choosing to stay in the city where he was a two-sport star in college, rather than leaving for bigger paychecks elsewhere. His terrific hand-eye coordination made him one of the game’s greatest pure hitters. He had 3,141 hits — 18th on the all-time list — a career .338 average and won eight batting titles to tie Honus Wagner’s NL record.

He struck out only 434 times in 9,288 career at-bats. He played in San Diego’s only two World Series — batting a combined .371 — and was a 15-time All-Star. He had a memorable home run in Game 1 of the 1998 World Series off fellow San Diegan David Wells, and scored the winning run in the 1994 All-Star Game despite a bum knee.

Gwynn never hit below .309 in a full season. He spread out his batting titles from 1984, when he batted .351, to 1997, when he hit .372.

Gwynn was hitting .394 when a players’ strike ended the 1994 season, denying him a shot at becoming the first player to hit .400 since San Diego native Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941.

Gwynn befriended Williams and the two loved to talk about hitting. Gwynn steadied Williams when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the 1999 All-Star Game at Boston’s Fenway Park.

Fellow Hall of Famer Greg Maddux tweeted, “Tony Gwynn was the best pure hitter I ever faced! Condolences to his family.”

Gwynn was known for his hearty laugh and warm personality. Every day at 4 p.m., Gwynn sat in the Padres’ dugout and talked baseball or anything else with the media.

Tim Flannery, who was teammates with Gwynn on the Padres’ 1984 World Series team and later was on San Diego’s coaching staff, said he’ll “remember the cackle to his laugh. He was always laughing, always talking, always happy.”

“The baseball world is going to miss one of the greats, and the world itself is going to miss one of the great men of mankind,” said Flannery, the San Francisco Giants’ third base coach. “He cared so much for other people. He had a work ethic unlike anybody else, and had a childlike demeanor of playing the game just because he loved it so much.”

Gwynn had been on a medical leave since late March from his job as baseball coach at San Diego State, his alma mater. He died at a hospital in suburban Poway, agent John Boggs said.

“He was in a tough battle and the thing I can critique is he’s definitely in a better place,” Boggs said. “He suffered a lot. He battled. That’s probably the best way I can describe his fight against this illness he had, and he was courageous until the end.”

Gwynn’s wife, Alicia, and other family members were at his side when he died, Boggs said.

Gwynn’s son, Tony Jr., was with the Philadelphia Phillies, who later placed him on the bereavement list.

“Today I lost my Dad, my best friend and my mentor,” Gwynn Jr. tweeted. “I’m gonna miss u so much pops. I’m gonna do everything in my power to continue to … Make u proud!”

Gwynn had two operations for cancer in his right cheek between August 2010 and February 2012. The second surgery was complicated, with surgeons removing a facial nerve because it was intertwined with a tumor inside his right cheek. They grafted a nerve from Gwynn’s neck to help him eventually regain facial movement.

Gwynn had been in and out of the hospital and had spent time in a rehab facility, Boggs said.

“For more than 30 years, Tony Gwynn was a source of universal goodwill in the national pastime, and he will be deeply missed by the many people he touched,” Commissioner Bud Selig said.

Fans paid their respects by visiting the statue of Gwynn on a grassy knoll just beyond the outfield at Petco Park.

Gwynn was last with his San Diego State team on March 25 before beginning a leave of absence. His Aztecs rallied around a Gwynn bobblehead doll they would set near the bat rack during games, winning the Mountain West Conference tournament and advancing to the NCAA regionals.

Last week, SDSU announced it was extending Gwynn’s contract one season. The Aztecs play at Tony Gwynn Stadium, which was built in the mid-1990s with a $4 million donation by then-Padres owner John Moores.

Gwynn was born in Los Angeles on May 9, 1960, and attended high school in Long Beach.

He was a two-sport star at San Diego State in the late 1970s and early 1980s, playing point guard for the basketball team — he still holds the game, season and career record for assists — and in the outfield on the baseball team.

Gwynn always wanted to play in the NBA, until realizing during his final year at San Diego State that baseball would be the ticket to the pros.

He was drafted by both the Padres (third round) and San Diego Clippers (10th round) on the same day in 1981.

After spending parts of just two seasons in the minor leagues, he made his big league debut on July 19, 1982. Gwynn had two hits that night. After Gwynn hit a double, all-time hits leader Pete Rose, who been trailing the play, said to him: “Hey, kid, what are you trying to do, catch me in one night?”

In a career full of highlights, Gwynn had his 3,000th hit on Aug. 9, 1999, a first-inning single to right field at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.

Gwynn retired after the 2001 season and became a volunteer assistant coach at SDSU in 2002. He took over as head coach after that season.

He and Cal Ripken Jr. — who spent his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles — were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.

“I had no idea that all the things in my career were going to happen,” Gwynn said shortly before being inducted. “I sure didn’t see it. I just know the good Lord blessed me with ability, blessed me with good eyesight and a good pair of hands, and then I worked at the rest.”

Gwynn also is survived by a daughter, Anisha.

Boggs said services were pending.

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

June, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

CDC reveals no drop in smokeless tobacco use among U.S. workers

Source: philly.com
Author: Margaret Steele, HealthDay Reporter
 

THURSDAY, June 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Cigarette smoking continues to decline among Americans who work, but use of smokeless tobacco — a known cause of cancer — has held steady since 2005, U.S. health officials reported Thursday. Certain types of jobs — construction and mining, especially — are hotbeds of smokeless tobacco use, according to a study conducted by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Looking at tobacco use over five years, the researchers found a decline in cigarette smoking among working adults — from about 22 percent in 2005 to 19 percent in 2010. But use of smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco and snuff inched up slightly — from 2.7 percent in 2005 to 3 percent in 2010.”These findings can help health professionals direct assistance to working men and women to stop using smokeless tobacco, a known cause of oral, esophageal and pancreatic cancer,” the researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The CDC called on employers to try to snuff out all forms of tobacco use. New smokeless tobacco products such as snus (finely ground moist snuff) and candy-flavored dissolvable tobacco, combined with increased marketing, might explain smokeless tobacco’s steady use, the CDC authors said. However, snus and some other products weren’t included in the questionnaire so it’s possible smokeless tobacco use is underestimated, study author Dr. Jacek Mazurek, of the division of respiratory disease studies, and colleagues noted. Chewing tobacco and snuff aren’t safe, research has shown. These products may contain more nicotine than cigarettes, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Nicotine is highly addictive, which is why it’s so hard to quit smoking. For the report, researchers analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey. About 19 percent of mining workers acknowledged use of smokeless tobacco, the survey found. Adults involved in oil and gas extraction also reported heavy use of smokeless tobacco, with about 11 percent using the products, according to the study published in the June 6 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The percentage of cigarette smokers who also use smokeless tobacco was relatively unchanged during the study period — about 4 percent, the researchers said. Employers can step up efforts to curb smokeless tobacco use, the CDC suggested. Making workplaces tobacco-free, offering information on the health risks of tobacco and the benefits of quitting can help reduce these destructive habits. Promoting work-based tobacco-cessation services, including health insurance that covers treatment for tobacco dependence, is another valuable aid, the CDC report said.The finding that 3 percent of working adults used smokeless tobacco in 2010 indicates that much work is needed to meet the Healthy People 2020 target of 0.3 percent or less for U.S. adults.

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.
 
 
June, 2014|Oral Cancer News|