A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows a trend they don’t want to see.
A Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) shows that from 2001-2013, smokeless tobacco use increased significantly among high school athletes, but not with non-athletes.
The report also found there was lower use of combustible tobacco products among athletes than non-athletes. The CDC said that could be due, in part, to an awareness of the negative consequences on athletic performance. However, they say the use of smokeless tobacco suggests they find those products as being harmless.
“When you see it in the media and you see all those athletes that you’re looking up to as a younger student and trying to reach some of the goals that they’ve reached,” said Freeborn County Drug-Free Coalition Prevention Coordinator Lana Howe. “It definitely plays a large impact on you as a youth.”
The CDC said using smokeless tobacco can, however, adversely impact athletic performance and lead to disease and early death since they contain nicotine, toxins and carcinogens.
Several athletes with a history of smokeless tobacco use have been diagnosed with, or died from, oral cancer.