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Stephen Strasburg says he plans to quit smokeless tobacco for daughter

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Stephen Strasburg may be a part of a generation of baseball players who grew up being warned about the dangers of tobacco of all kinds, especially chewing tobacco, but the Washington Nationals pitcher nevertheless picked up the habit. In light of the tragic, far-too-soon death of Tony Gwynn — his college coach at San Diego State — to salivary gland cancer, Strasburg said on Monday he plans to quit chewing tobacco altogether, and he stated he intends to do so for his daughter.

The ironic and most telling aspect the addictive grip chewing tobacco can have on a person was the fact that Strasburg actually had a dip in his mouth while discussing his intent to quit.

Obviously, Gwynn’s untimely passing has been attributed to his use of chewing tobacco, something the Hall of Famer suspected and stated as such himself. And Strasburg, while mourning his college coach, realized that if he didn’t want to go down that same road and perhaps not be around for his daughter later in life, quitting is the wisest course of action.

“I think it’s a disgusting habit, looking back on it,” Strasburg said on Monday. “I was pretty naive when I started. Just doing it here and there, I didn’t think it was going to be such an addiction. … Bottom line is, I want to be around for my family. This is something that can affect people the rest of your life. [Chewing tobacco is] so prevalent in this game. It’s something we all kind of grew up doing.”

Strasburg said that he started chewing long before his path crossed with Gwynn’s and admitted he didn’t even know that his coach chewed tobacco.

And still, in Strasburg’s mind, there is no better time to give it up. If not for himself or in memory of a man who mean so much to him, for his little girl.

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