Controversial drug snus could be banned after use by footy stars such as Jamie Vardy and Man Utd ace | The Sun

A "PREVALENCE" of snus in football could lead to a blanket ban in the Premier League after it emerged it was being used by "dozens" of players – with numbers increasing.

A PFA investigation will report by the New Year the use of the product – taken by athletes who believe nicotine boosts performance – is at a "tipping point".

This investigation will see it either become openly accepted or banned by clubs with no compromise.

Stars including Leicester striker Jamie Vardy and Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles have been linked to the product and nicotine pouches.

Players put the products under their top lip or between their toes before games.

An insider at a top-five club said: "It is an open secret that snus and nicotine pouches are being used by players on and off the pitch, on the bench and in training and many do not care about this investigation. 



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"I know the PFA sees a tipping point here and they are in a difficult spot.

"Coaches cannot watch the players all of the time and these are incredibly discreet to use.

"Is the gaffer supposed to check his players' mouths and toes when they put their socks on? It's because of this we could see a blanket ban, rather than the effects of snus."

Many clubs made players watch presentations and complete questionnaires over the summer on the issue.

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Gareth Southgate said last week he was aware 'a lot of footballers' used snus and added: "I'm not sure how it can be good for you."

But campaigners hit back last night, stating the PFA was "ignoring the science" behind nicotine in sport.

Richard Crosby, founder of campaign group Considerate Pouchers UK, said: "The PFA is potentially causing more harm than good by ignoring the science and while Mr Southgate has a view, it appears not to be an informed one.

"He and the PFA need to understand why players are using snus and nicotine pouches, which is largely twofold – to improve athletic and cognitive performance, whilst also avoiding cigarettes.

"It is lazy to associate nicotine with smoking.

"This is because there is now plenty of evidence to show it can be an effective sporting supplement, so by not informing players of this valid research, they are ignoring the science and withholding all of the facts."

As well as Vardy, Manchester United centre-back Victor Lindelof and Newcastle defender Emil Krafth have all been snapped with snus and tobacco-free nicotine pouches, which sit behind the top lip.

Nicotine use in football has been long-running.

Legendary players including Gazza, Zinedine Zidane, Wayne Rooney and David Ginola were all spotted puffing cigarettes.

There is some evidence to suggest nicotine can increase performance.

A 2021 study by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, monitored college archers before and after using nicotine strips.

It concluded nicotine had a positive effect on attention, "increased skeletal muscle contraction force" and delayed fatigue.

The archers’ scores also "significantly increased" after taking nicotine, with the report stating the drug "enhances the performance of archery athletes by increasing cognitive function".

But the PFA has said it wants to target any addiction in sport after a survey of 1000 professional players revealed many were struggling with the use of prescription drugs.

Dele Alli has openly spoken about his addiction to sleeping pills while ex-Liverpool keeper Chris Kirkland has spoken of his battle with painkillers.

The 12-month PFA study on the use of snus – which is being led by Loughborough University – will be used to advise clubs on its prevalence in their teams and give recommendations for support offered to players, including counselling.

Mr Crosby said: "It is really important the PFA look at this subject with an open mind and make a proper attempt at discussing this with experts in the field.

"Their own specialists will be aware of the research into nicotine and performance.

"Let's also not forget snus and pouches are vastly safer than smoking, which has been another way footballers have used to get nicotine in the past."

It is legal to buy snus – which contains tobacco – in the UK but it is illegal to sell it, meaning footballers buy online. 

Openly available nicotine pouches fall under general consumer product safety regulations.

This is currently under review by government.

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