Though the late Tony Gwynn attributed his salivary cancer to smokeless tobacco, there wasn't necessarily a direct connection. (The stuff's obviously very harmful, but Gwynn's type of cancer was quite rare.) Either way, though, Gwynn's death has convinced at least one current MLB player to quit cold turkey.
Diamondbacks closer Addison Reed said that after he heard of Gwynn's death last Monday, he threw away seven tins of dip from his locker, and two from his car.
"It's one of those things where I've done it for so long it's just become a habit, a really bad habit," Reed said of using smokeless tobacco. "It was something I always told myself I would quit, like next month, and the next thing you know it's been six or seven years."
"These five days have been kind of rough, but I think it's something that's doable," Reed said. "I don't have any cans in my locker, so as long as I don't go and buy any, I should be all right."
Whether or not it contributed to Gwynn's death, smokeless tobacco is indeed harmful—a problem with which MLB and ballplayers have been struggling for years. If his passing makes other active players not only think about their use of dip or chew, but gives them the motivation to do something about it, it could prevent future tragedy.