MLB Players Ditch Banned Tobacco for ZYN Nicotine Pouches
Erik Rosengren - Snusexpert
25 May, 2023
4 Minutes

MLB Players Ditch Banned Tobacco for ZYN Nicotine Pouches

With increasing awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco, more people and organizations are cracking down on tobacco usage. In the past few months, we've seen a lot of negative publicity related to snus usage in football and the NHL. And now, all of that pressure has spilled over into the MLB.

The fight between lawmakers and the MLB against dip has been active since early 2015. In February 2015, lawmakers in California wanted to ban all use of chewing tobacco on fields in California. In 2016, different parties banned the use of tobacco in Fenway, Dodger, and AT&T park.

Eventually, the ban was expanded to different venues around the country. But what took Major League Baseball years to completely ban dip and tobacco use on their fields? 

The Baseball And Tobacco Pair

Baseball and tobacco have a long history, like most other sports. Players in the major and minor leagues have been using smokeless tobacco products for years, and that's not something that was hidden. The same can be said for snus and tobacco usage in the Premier League.

Players have been using snuff, dip, and chewing tobacco, on and off the field, in their dugouts since the beginning. Initially, professional athletes would use tobacco to keep their mouths moist during long games. The tobacco spit would also keep their gloves soft and more receptive. The nicotine buzz was an added effect, which kept them alert and more active.

It was normal for everyone to use tobacco, especially when cigarettes were deemed more dangerous. Almost everyone had their cheeks filled with a swab of dip or other tobacco products.

A picture of an MLB player using tobacco dip

What changed was research and awareness about the effects of tobacco. Over the years, different studies have linked the constant use of smokeless tobacco to numerous issues like gum disease, liver disease, and dietary problems. 

Additionally, people who use chewing tobacco have to spit, which is quite unsightly. Countless pictures have surfaced of players chewing and spitting in their dugouts or on the field during games. This negative aspect and increasing pressure from healthcare organizations are what forced the MLB to double down on dip and chewing tobacco usage.

With the recent ban on tobacco in all Major League Baseball stadiums, the players have nowhere to turn to. The ban has attracted mixed responses from most fans. While some didn't even know that players in the MLB were using dip and chewing tobacco, others believe that the players have the right to choose what's best for them.

Will the Ban Have a Major Impact on the MLB?

No, we don't think so because changes like these are normal. As time passes, more regulations and amendments are added to the rule books. According to De Jong, a seasoned baseball player, “Baseball is a game of adaptation. So people are going to have to adapt to that (The Ban).”

He further explained that previously, numerous Major League players used to smoke cigarettes before, during, or after their games. With stricter regulations and more awareness about the health risks of cigarettes, the practice is now non-existent in baseball. 

In the 1990s, people switched to snus and other traditional tobacco products. Now, that the MLB and stadiums have banned the use of dip and chewing tobacco, players have to switch to safer alternatives, like ZYN. But…

What Is the Player's Take on Tobacco and Nicotine Pouches?

Surprisingly, most players are unfazed by the MLB's decision to eliminate smokeless tobacco from the game. Many players in the MLB are switching to alternatives like tobacco-free nicotine pouches. And it seems that ZYN is the prime alternative for most league players. 

Nicotine pouches in general don't have the same harmful effects as tobacco-based products, and all other forms of nicotine. Since modern nicotine pouches come in dry formats and use synthetic nicotine, they don't cause salivation. So, players don't have to spit while using them.

Nicotine pouches also offer a similar buzz to tobacco products. Nicotine pouches can also be used as a smoking or tobacco cessation tool. It's what allowed DL Hall of the Baltimore Orioles to quit tobacco. In his words, DL Hall said:
“They’re still definitely addictive because they have nicotine, but they don’t have the same harmful chemicals that tobacco has.”

MLB player using ZYN and nicotine pouches

DL Hall also said, “I used ZYNs to get off (referring to Dip).” But why are players turning to ZYN, when there are hundreds of other brands on the market? Why not VELO, On! nicotine pouches or any other brand?

Why are MLB Players Choosing ZYN? 

It all comes down to trust, utility, and feasibility. ZYN is a tobacco-free nicotine pouch that has been gaining demand and credibility throughout the world. ZYN is the most sold and most demanded nicopod in the US. A first-quarter 2019 financial report from Swedish Match indicated that ZYN sold 6 million cans in the US. A recent report strongly suggested that ZYN use and sales have continued to boom since 2019. 

A chart of ZYN sales performance over time

In 2022, ZYN nicotine pouch sales in the US increased to more than 200 million cans. ZYN is a brand that maintains its quality and keeps producing better products. They have tens of unique products with varying levels of nicotine and amazing flavors. When you put Snus vs. ZYN, you also find out that ZYN is much healthier.

Their vision and motto of reducing cigarette consumption are also commendable. It's one reason why ZYN is a household name in the US. It's also why plenty of players from the MLB, and NHL are turning to ZYN. Over the years, as tobacco regulations become stricter, ZYN and other nicotine product sales will increase even more.

Yes, some players will continue to use tobacco in a more secretive way, but eventually, it will stop. As for the game, we shouldn't expect much to change. Players will still pitch the same curves, hit the same home runs, and embody the spirit of baseball as best as before. They'll just be a lot healthier and livelier!