One of the most basic, important, and obvious examples of using research to make smart health decisions is avoiding tobacco. There is increasing evidence that this important step is taking place--even on the baseball diamond.
A new study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise reveals less Major League Baseball players are chewing tobacco; resulting in decreased occurrence of potentially cancerous mouth lesions. Jeannine Stein of The Los Angeles Times reports:
A recent study of Pittsburgh Pirate players, both in major and minor leagues, found that smokeless tobacco use went from 41% of players in 1991 to 25% in 2000. Much of the downward trend can be credited to the 1993 ban on chewing tobacco in the minor leagues, says Dr. Keith Sinusas, the study's lead author and associate director of the family medicine residency at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Conn. "As players progress to the major leagues, they're less likely to be using," he says, adding that education programs helped as well.
Researchers noted a parallel decrease in cases of oral leukoplakia, whitish lesions that form on the inside of the mouth that can become cancerous. Those numbers dropped from 22.6% to 9.4%, and Sinusas has good news for those who quit: "Within a few months of stopping use," he says, "most of the lesions go away."