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Rambam (Hil. Edus 11:4) writes (translation from here):

...base people are disqualified as witnesses by Rabbinic decree. This refers to people who walk through the marketplace eating in the presence of everyone... and the like. The rationale is that they are not concerned with their own shame.

This is cited as the halachah, in practically identical wording, in Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 34:18.

Does this also apply to chewing gum or the like?

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+1. Whaddaya mean "or the like"? –  msh210 Dec 15 '11 at 20:58
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I'd replace "and chew gum" with "and talk loudly and obnoxiously on cellphones" The rationale is that they are not concerned with their own shame. ;) –  Shmuel Dec 15 '11 at 22:00
    
@msh210 sucking a candy on the street sounds like it... –  yydl Dec 15 '11 at 22:06
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Or, perhaps, drinking a cup of coffee in public? –  neilfein Dec 16 '11 at 0:18
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"Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?" - Not if you're a man! :) –  AviD Dec 16 '11 at 9:37
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2 Answers

Based on the answer to this question May one chew gum in the bathroom? that one may chew gum in the bathroom, then it is obviously not called eating and therefore it would not disqualify one from being a witness.

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Chewing gum is not halachic eating.

  1. It is less than a Kzayit

  2. You do not swallow it.

  3. It does not nourish you.

So chewing gum and walking in the street would not disqualify you.

As for candies and the like, this is really talking about the Marketplace. The gemora says that a person who eats in the Shuk is like a dog. The person has no patience and can not sit down properly to eat. If you do not have enough shame to be thought of as a dog, then you are a base person and can't be a witness.

Basically, don't eat the food in the supermarket.

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Sources would be greatly appreciated and enhance your answer. –  Gershon Gold Dec 16 '11 at 2:35
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And I'm not sure about some of these points. You do say a berachah on gum, after all, because at least you swallow the sugar or other flavoring. So it might be considered "eating" to that extent. –  Alex Dec 16 '11 at 4:29
    
@Alex, it's not so simple. See here. torahmusings.com/2010/11/chewing-gum-bracha-or-no-bracha –  avi Dec 16 '11 at 10:34
    
Also, the question is if you need a bracha achrona, not a bracha rishona. And you don't say a bracha achrona on gum. –  avi Dec 16 '11 at 10:39
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