In "Chewing over a messy subject" [Sports, June 22], John Jeansonne said Tony Gwynn was one of Major League Baseball's most admired and loved figures. He is gone far too young, at age 54, dying from oral cancer that he got as a result of his years of using spit tobacco.

During his last few years, Gwynn talked openly about the dangers of spit tobacco in the hope of preventing others from suffering the way he did. It's unfortunate that the only time we talk about this issue is after we lose yet another life.

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As a nurse practitioner working with people to end their tobacco addiction, I know how difficult the road to abstinence can be. The best way to prevent others from Tony Gwynn's fate is to prevent the initiation of tobacco use.

Daniel Jacobsen, Amityville