oyoI’ve often said to baseball players, managers, and parents that chewing tobacco is part of the game, but it doesn’t have to be part of the game.  We can be the example that shines and separates this weed from America’s past time.  We must set the example though, and that means standing up and making a stand.

My boys (ages 10 and 6) had received birthday gifts about a month ago.  They love the Legos, and my house is littered with them.  My oldest loves to fall asleep to the sounds of Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus calling every pitch for the Cleveland Indians during the summer months

Combining these two things seems natural, and for their birthdays they received OYO Sports’ Cleveland Indians miniature players.  While not officially Lego, the website promotes that the figures and pieces “are compatible with other notable building block toys like Lego, K’nex, Mega® Bloks and more”.  The toys are MLB licensed and quite popular among collectors and fans.

Here is an unboxing video of two of the toys.  See if you see something odd about the packaging:

That’s no “hockey puck”.  That’s a can of dipping tobacco.  For reference, I compared its size and shape to a can of Smokey Mountain Snuff (non nicotine herbal snuff) that I had on hand.

The can is the exact shape and size of a chewing tobacco can.

In fact, the lid to the SMS can (which is similar to Skoal Long Cut cans) fits on top of the “hockey puck” perfectly.  The can is hidden inside of packaging to disguise the shape (I’m guessing) for a reason.

I thought that the two cans looked familiar immediately, but I pushed that thought aside.  Nah…I thought.  It’s just a piece of packaging that we’ll toss.  It’s now a month later, and he likes to keep things in the “puck” and carry it around.

When I chewed, I wasn’t immediately addicted.  It crept up on me.  Initially, I thought it was fun.  I didn’t “need” my can and didn’t freak out if I left home without it.  However, as time went on, I “needed” that can more and more until it became part of my identity.  My can never left my side.

Quitting nicotine (and specifically chewing tobacco ) was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life.  But even though I’m quit, the weed still exists in this place and still has a place in things like Major League Baseball.  If your boy is/was a baseball player, talk to them about the stuff.  Many users and quitters that I know started in baseball as it’s been “part of the game” for ages.

While candy cigarettes received a lot of press over the years, “hockey pucks” like these have not.  Like candy cigarettes, these things glorify a nicotine lifestyle.  Think about all the kids that put decks of cards in their sleeves emulating greasers in the 1950s that later became smokers.  Kids carrying “tins” of their toys generate the same circle in the clothes that their major league heroes sport.

This is unreal, and needs to be changed.  I’ve talked to my children about the dangers of nicotine, but it’s things like that sneak the drug into people’s lives.  Chewing tobacco is part of the game, but it doesn’t NEED to be part of the game.  Change the packaging.