Tony Gwynn passed away last week after a fight with salivary cancer. While there's no way to prove definitively that his cancer was due to a lifetime of chewing tobacco, it seems extraordinarily likely. Stephen Strasburg, who played under Gwynn at San Diego State, is convinced, and he's doing something about it:
"I think it's a disgusting habit, looking back on it," the Nationals right-hander said on Monday. "I was pretty naive when I started. Just doing it here and there, I didn't think it was going to be such an addiction. ... Bottom line is, I want to be around for my family. This is something that can affect people the rest of your life. [Chewing tobacco is] so prevalent in this game. It's something we all kind of grew up doing."
Saying you're going to quit is a lot easier than quitting -- I say that out of experience, not to be flip -- but if anything's going to push someone like Strasburg in the right direction, this would be it. Tobacco is pernicious, nasty stuff that's incredibly hard to shake, so best of luck to Strasburg.