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Nicotine Pouches and Footballers

One in Five English Footballers Are Using Snus or Nicotine pouches 

A report by Loughborough University, commissioned by the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association), shows that one in five professional footballers in the English football system use snus or nicotine pouches 

Why do football players use snus? 

The study, which examined the nicotine habits of professional football players in England, found that the use of products such as snus and nicotine pouches is increasing. Around 40% of those who took part in the study have tried snus or nicotine pouches at least once. Many players believe that nicotine can help reduce stress and improve performance on the pitch. 


The report suggests actual usage figures may be higher, as some players might not disclose their use even in an anonymous survey. Among the 628 male players surveyed, 18% reported using nicotine pouches. In the Women's Super League, 22% of the 51 players surveyed said they used them. 

What is snus used for in football?  

Several football coaches and health specialists express concern about this trend. They emphasise the need for increased awareness and education around the potential dangers of nicotine use. 


Nicotine affects the body's reward system by releasing dopamine, which is a signaling substance that makes us feel good, awake, happy, and present. The reward system is important for survival. In addition to making us feel good, it is needed for memory and learning. Nicotine enhances concentration and makes us feel more alert. Nicotine also increases blood pressure slightly, similar to caffeine in a cup of coffee. Nicotine in snus raises the level of the stress hormone cortisol, leading to increased alertness. These effects combined are likely why customers use these products in situations requiring extra focus. And why should football players react differently from our customers? said Markus Lindblad, Head of External Affairs at Haypp. 

A majority of male players (58%) and more than three-quarters of female players (86%) surveyed stated they had not previously received any education about snus. 


More than half of the male users in the study (53%) and almost three-quarters of the female users (73%) reported signs of nicotine dependence - such as cravings and use without awareness or intention. 


Health effects and risks are two different things. Here I would like to highlight the risks described in the original article assessing total risk that Public Health England relied on. Professor David J Nutt from London and colleagues discussed how to calculate the total risk from various nicotine sources, including snus. Their analysis used cigarettes as a reference point and concluded that vaping poses a lower risk than snus. The total risk of snus compared to smoking cigarettes was around 5%, indicating a 95% risk reduction. Notably, in this analysis, about 2% of the risk associated with snus was attributed to addiction,”Markus Lindblad concluded. 


The increasing use of snus and nicotine-free nicotine pouches in football reflects a wider trend in society where nicotine products are becoming increasingly available and accepted. 

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