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Late baseball superstar Tony Gwynn’s family sues the tobacco giant Altria

Tony used to fall asleep with a chew of the Skoal stuck in his mouth. This developed into salivary gland cancer and he died in 2014.

Tony Gwynn watching his team play

The late Major League Baseball superstar Tony Gwynn’s family is suing Altria a tobacco giant alleging that the company enticed him into taking up dip tobacco habit. This addiction caused cancer to Tony and killed him at age 54.

A lawsuit has been filed in Superior Court in San Diego, California. It alleges the company for its negligence, product liability and fraud for selling a product they knew was dangerous and failing to warn users.

Altria sells dip tobacco in a small pouch or can and this can be held in mouth between the gum and lip. Some believe that it is a harmless alternative to smoking.


The company gave Tony free samples of dip when he was at attending San Diego State University. Tony had become addicted and started using two cans of Skoal brand tobacco everyday while playing professional baseball with the San Diego Padres said his family.

His daughter, Anisha Gwynn-Jones, said the whole industry used her father as a “walking billboard” for their product.

The Baseball superstar’s family said Tony would often fall asleep with a chew of the Skoal stuck in his mouth. This developed into salivary gland cancer and he died in 2014.

The tobacco gaint Altria his hasn’t made any official comment about the lawsuit.

Many cities like Boston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco with Major League Baseball teams have outlawed use of smokeless tobacco for their players and also inside ballparks.

-by Bhaskar Raghavendran

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication from Amity school of communication, Noida. Contact the author at Twitter: bhaskar_ragha

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Smoking may up risk of hearing loss

smoking (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
  • There are many harmful effects of smoking
  • Smoking may also lead to a loss of hearing
  • For smokers, it can get difficult to listen to low-frequency sounds

Smokers beware. You may be at a higher risk of suffering hearing loss, as a new study suggests that smoking affects the ability to hear both high and low-frequency sounds.

“These results provide strong evidence to support that smoking is a causal factor for hearing loss and emphasise the need for tobacco control to prevent or delay the development of hearing loss,” said lead author Huanhuan Hu from the National Centre for Global Health and Medicine in Japan.

Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay
Smoking can cause loss of hearing. Pixabay

For the study, published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, researchers included 50,195 people, aged between 20 to 64 years and free of hearing loss.

The researchers analysed data from annual health checkups, which included audio testing performed by a technician and a health-related lifestyle questionnaire completed by each participant.

Also Read: Stop smoking and eat healthy to avoid obesity

They examined the effects of smoking status (current, former and never smokers), the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and the duration of smoking cessation on the extent of hearing loss. The participants were followed up for a maximum of eight years.

Even after adjusting for factors including occupational noise exposure, researchers noted a 1.2 to 1.6 increased risk of hearing loss among current smokers compared with never smokers.

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Smokers are at higher risk of losing their ability to listen low-frequency sounds. Pixabay

During follow-up, 3,532 individuals developed high-frequency hearing loss, and 1,575 developed low-frequency hearing loss. While the association between smoking and high-frequency hearing loss was stronger than that of low-frequency hearing loss, the risk of both high and low-frequency hearing loss increased with cigarette consumption, the researcher said.

The increased risk of hearing loss decreased within five years after quitting smoking, the researcher added. “With a large sample size, long follow-up period, and objective assessment of hearing loss, our study provides strong evidence that smoking is an independent risk factor of hearing loss,” Hu said. IANS