News and Events

Dixie County Students Working Against Tobacco Promote Tobacco Free Sports Leagues
December 9, 2016

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County has been working with the Dixie County SWAT clubs over the past two years on creating a smokeless tobacco policy. This current year they have focused on Tobacco Free Events and Tobacco Free Sports Leagues. 

There is a very strong social norm for the use of smokeless tobacco among youth and young adults in Dixie County. Based on the 2014 FYTS 18.9% of High School Student in Dixie County have used smokeless tobacco in the past 30 days. This is much higher than the State of Florida use rate, 5.4%.

One of the strongest smokeless tobacco social norms has been the use of spit tobacco among major league baseball players.  Many of the game's top players are known tobacco users, a habit likely picked up much earlier in their baseball careers. In the new collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB players union, all new players entering the league will be forbidden from using smokeless tobacco, like chew, dip and snuff. This is a victory for the health of new major league baseball players and little league baseball players all around the nation who look up to them as role models.  

The little league baseball players also look up to coaches, parents and other adults as behavioral role models; the more youth see smokeless tobacco use by adults they begin to assume it is an acceptable adult behavior. Smokeless tobacco use should be de-normalized to help these future major league baseball players to become healthier and prepared for the new MLB policy. 

Big tobacco has been taking notes on the changes since 2011 when MLB minor leagues prohibited players from using smokeless tobacco.  Based on a report from the CDC “Consumption of Combustible and Smokeless Tobacco – United States, 2000-2015”, Smokeless tobacco consumption has increased 23.1% and tobacco companies spent $410.0 million promoting snuff, $11.8 million on loose leaf chewing tobacco and $51.2 million for snus. These findings underscore the importance of not only prohibiting tobacco use at all sports venues but also the strong need for prohibiting advertising and sponsorships of these leagues by tobacco retailers.  The message has been sent that baseball will continue to push out tobacco and Dixie County needs to send a message that they will not allow tobacco to be pushed onto the youth.

Please join the Tobacco Free Partnership and the Dixie County SWAT youth as they work on a tobacco free policy for all of Dixie County Sports Venues.  Help Dixie County's Future Major League Ball players remain tobacco free and healthy!