A comparison of smokeless tobacco and smoking practices of university varsity and intramural baseball players

Addict Behav. 1991;16(5):335-40. doi: 10.1016/0306-4603(91)90026-e.


To examine the smokeless tobacco (ST) and smoking practices of collegiate varsity and intramural baseball players, 284 undergraduate athletes at two major Southwestern universities were surveyed using a questionnaire previously developed to measure use among this population. About one-fourth of all athletes were current ST users and 4% smokers. Over half of varsity players (53%) compared to 25.9% of intramural players used one or both forms of ST. Varsity players were about 20 times more likely to use ST as to smoke, while intramural players were about five times as likely to use ST than to smoke. On both teams, use of chewing tobacco was associated with use of snuff. Smoking was not associated with ST use in either group. Mean ages for initiation for all products was 15, and for quitting, 18. There was no evidence that one form of tobacco served as a gateway for the other among these young adult athletes. Over a fourth of all users started after age 17, suggesting that college is an appropriate locus for both ST prevention and cessation programming. Such programs for this population must address the unique characteristics of the social environment in collegiate baseball.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basketball*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control
  • Tobacco, Smokeless*
  • United States / epidemiology