Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Kymberle Sterling

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Eriksen

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Smokeless tobacco (ST) is commonly associated with baseball. The purpose of this paper is to examine and compare the ST usage patterns on an NCAA Division I baseball team and an NCAA Division III baseball team. The collected data will be compared to patterns of use from similar age groups in a national survey. The health effects of ST will be examined, along with the background of ST and baseball.

METHODS: An online survey was used to distribute and administer the questionnaire to willing participants on the two college baseball teams. The survey was open from October 29th, 2013 to February 1st, 2014, at which point the data was collected and analyzed for patterns of use in SPSS. The results were then compared to smokeless tobacco use rates in baseball players and student-athletes on the whole found by the NCAA Student-Athlete Substance Abuse Surveys from 1997, 2001, and 2009.

RESULTS: The NCAA Division I baseball team had substantially higher rates of use, both in terms of ever-use and habitual use when compared to the NCAA Division III baseball team. On the Division I team, 75% of players reported ever-use and 62.5% of players reported habitual use. On the Division III team, 35.7% of players reported ever-use, while only 14.3% of players reported habitual use.

DISCUSSION: The survey found that the Division I team reported higher rates of use than the Division III team, other NCAA student-athletes generally (75% ST ever-use and 62.5% habitual ST use compared to 17.4% of other student-athletes reporting past 12 month ST use) and higher use than other NCAA baseball players (75% ST ever-use and 62.5% habitual ST use compared to 52.3% of other NCAA baseball players reporting past 12 month ST use),while the Division III team only reported only higher ever-use than NCAA student-athletes on the whole reported use in the last 12 months, (35.7% compared to 17.4%). The Division III team reported quite a bit less use than other NCAA baseball players (35.7% ST ever-use and 14.3% habitual ST use compared to 52.3% past 12 month ST use in other NCAA baseball players). This is an awkward comparison given the difference in definitions of use ever-use and habitual use versus past 12 month use. The major issue with the study was the lack of a large sample size, so the data should be used cautiously. The rates on both teams would likely be closer had more players responded to the survey.

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