Snus has been used for quite some time by some amateur athletes and also professional athletes as a performance enhancement product. The term snus is used for tobacco blends for oral use, which originally come from Scandinavia and are widely used there.
Although its sale is considered illegal in many European countries (except Switzerland and Sweden), its consumption is not affected and even in professional sports snus is not classified as an illegal doping substance. We want to explain to you which substances in snus contribute to performance enhancement and how they affect physical abilities.
What are the ingredients in snus?
Snus is a mixture of salt, flavors, water and ground tobacco and is put under the upper lip when consumed and consumed until it loses its flavor. Since snus contains tobacco, it also contains nicotine, as this is found in the tobacco plant. The snus nicotine content depends on the brand, particularly strong products can contain up to 45 mg/g nicotine.
The salt in snus ensures better absorption of the tobacco. It is absorbed by the body through the mucous membranes in the mouth and ultimately reaches the brain through the blood, where it triggers a series of reactions. How long the effect lasts depends on the snus strength and how long the tobacco mixture is kept in the mouth.
Effect of snus on the body and mind
One of the reasons why some athletes reach for snus before training is the effect of tobacco on the body, or rather the effect of the nicotine it contains. When nicotine enters the brain, the reward center is activated and our body releases more of the nerve messenger dopamine. Through dopamine, the communication of nerve cells is improved and positive feelings spread.
At the same time, nicotine also causes an increase in adrenaline, which means that our blood pressure and pulse rate go up. So after taking it we not only feel less nervous, but we are also more focused than before. Snusers describe it as a stimulating feeling, while at the same time suppressing negative feelings such as nervousness.
Snus performance enhancement in sports
The actual effect of snus on athletes is still relatively unexplored. Some athletes hope that taking snus will improve their concentration and speed of reaction, while others claim that snus has no effect on athletic performance and that it is only a temporary kick.
Among ice hockey players, snus has never been a rarity, and more and more professional football players are also taking snus to experience an energy kick before the game and to increase their resilience.
Legality of snus in sports - Is snus considered a doping substance?
Officially, snus is not on the list of doping substances banned worldwide, nor is nicotine. However, nicotine is on the watch list and could be classified as illegal in the future.
So in fact, taking snus before practice or games is perfectly legal and athletes need not fear disqualification. As long as the snus performance enhancement cannot be demonstrably measured, and athletes do not receive a clear advantage from taking it, it is not considered doping.
Snus, when consumed, triggers some reactions in our body, which, according to athletes, have a positive effect on their performance. Taking it helps suppress negative feelings, such as nervousness, and increase adrenaline in the body. Especially ice hockey and football players are known to consume it regularly before games.
However, this snus performance enhancer is not high enough to be considered an illegal doping drug, thus snus is not on the list of banned stimulants and can be taken legally by athletes.