In the United States today, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable deaths and diseases. Tobacco comes in many forms and can be smoked, chewed, or sniffed. It not only contains nicotine which is highly addictive, it also contains a number of other carcinogens, especially tobacco specific nitrosamines. Smokeless tobacco, which can be in the form of loose leaves, plugs (bricks), pouches, or twists of rope, is either chewed or held in place, allowing the nicotine to be absorbed through the lining of the mouth. Smokeless tobacco is known to lead to negative health effects such as oral, throat, and other cancers, mouth sores, gum and tooth decay, high blood pressure, heart attack, and even stroke. Young adult males ages 18-24 are the most common users of smokeless tobacco and at an increased risk of developing other poor health habits due to new stressors and social relationships that come along with this transitional period in life. Research suggests that male college athletes are an even higher risk for smokeless tobacco use due to the added pressure of performing well in their sport as well as in school and society. A survey examining the prevalence of smokeless tobacco use, knowledge, perceived risk, and social influences of smokeless tobacco was given to male lacrosse, baseball, and track and field athletes (N=51) at Ursinus College. Results showed that there was a significant difference in the levels of knowledge of smokeless tobacco health risks between users and nonusers, but not a significant difference in perceived risk or social influences between users and nonusers. Further research should be done on this topic using a larger population and a variety of different colleges or universities and sports.
LaRatta, MPHc, Nicole; Leader. DPH, MPH, Amy; and van de Ruit, Catherine, "Knowledge, Perceptions, and Social Influences of Smokeless Tobacco Use in Collegiate Male Athletes" (2018). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 278.