Snus has been consumed by athletes and sportsmen for quite some time, and footballers are no exception. Snus is not considered an illegal drug in professional sports and can therefore be taken by athletes before competitions without hesitation. Let's explain why it is so popular in sports and what effect the product has on the body and performance of footballers.
Why is snus so popular in football?
Snus is especially popular among field hockey players, who take the tobacco pouches to boost performance and improve concentration before important games. The popularity has now spread to other sports and more and more footballers are reaching for the small nicotine-containing pouches. Even in handball there are a few reports of players who have taken snus and continue to consume it.
Snus originated in Scandinavia and is even more popular there than cigarettes. It is a type of oral tobacco that consists of water, flavors, salt, and ground tobacco leaves. The nicotine content of the products varies by brand, with some containing more than 20 mg/g of nicotine.
One of the reasons why tobacco pouches are chosen by athletes is the effect on the body and mind. When nicotine is absorbed by the body, it starts producing more adrenaline and the reaction speed goes up. Although the body is stimulated, snus has a calming effect on the mind. Namely, more dopamine is released here, which increases positive feelings and suppresses nervousness.
Effects on the body include:
- Response time is improved
- Increased attention
- Adrenaline goes up
- Metabolism is accelerated
- Nervousness goes down
- Muscles can be built faster
Snus is not considered a doping agent
The commercial sale of tobacco snus is considered illegal in many European countries, although the health effects of snus are considered to be much less of a concern than those of cigarettes. However, consumption remains completely legal and therefore the product can be used in football. The question "Is snus a drug?" continues to be hotly debated by experts, and opinions differ.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has not yet classified snus as a doping agent, but since it is considered a stimulant, it is on the watch list. Only substances that give a clear advantage in competitions are considered doping agents. Many experts agree that snus causes an increase in performance, but this is still too small to put the product on the banned list.
Are there known snusers in the upper leagues as well?
Of course, there are also some professionals among soccer players in the upper leagues who use snus as a stimulant. Probably the best-known example is Marco Reus, who even posted a photo on social media with a Thunder brand can. Karim Benzema was also spotted taking one of the pouches on the bench, sparking headlines.
Jamie Vardy revealed in his biography that he regularly consumed nicotine pouches before matches. In addition, this type of tobacco enjoys great popularity, especially among Scandinavian players.
Since snus is only pushed under the upper lip during use, consumption is relatively difficult to observe. Furthermore, combustion does not take place as with other tobacco products, which is why there is no smoke to be seen. The product is usually filled in portions in tins or can be purchased loose.
Snus in football is no longer a rarity and many players openly admit to taking the tobacco pouches before important competitions. A clear increase in performance has not yet been proven, but the products are on the watch list of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Athletes report an adrenaline boost when taking the products, as well as a reduction in nervousness. Time will tell whether snus will be added to the banned list or whether its use in sports will continue to be monitored. An important reason for the widespread consumption of snus in sports is certainly also that the consumption of snus does not affect the lungs as is the case with cigarettes.