“It’s like smoking four cigarettes at a time” – Sunderland manager warns against using “snus” in football


Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson warned against using snus in football, which he compared to smoking three or four cigarettes at a time.

nus is a smokeless oral tobacco product originating in Sweden made from crushed or pulverized leaves, wrapped in the same way as a tea bag that is placed under the upper lip.

Although possession and use of snus is not illegal, its sale has been banned since 1992 in the UK and the EU, except Sweden, under current regulations. This position could however be reconsidered by the government.

Even without inhaled smoke, Johnson maintains the impact can be just as damaging to both a player’s physical health and mental well-being.

“It gives you that kind of buzz. I haven’t tried it myself, but after talking to the players the concern for me is that it is highly addictive, ”Johnson said on talkSPORT.

“I’ve had players who are so addicted that they’re in the hospital overnight with something else, maybe an operation, and begging the doctors and nurses to give them a bathtub – or else they say ‘They are going to run out of bed and do it themselves after having just had knee surgery.

“It’s so addicting that it comes to the fore of our minds and then becomes dangerous.”

Johnson, who started his playing career at Brighton before long stays at Yeovil and Bristol City, is concerned about the lasting impact of repeated snus use.

“You play with the balance of body and mind, that’s the most important thing for me in terms of development,” he said.

“You will find that some players have two or three sachets of snus under their lip, but then they take caffeine pills, so it gives itself that calming effect.

“They then get into a game trying to lift themselves up so they take caffeine or Red Bull pills to try and get the boost.

“(With) so many spikes in the body, a kind of balance if you will, I don’t think that is conducive to top performance, but more importantly, it doesn’t allow the player to be in. good health for a long period of time.

“It’s nicotine that gets into the body and a lot of it.

“I see how many players are actually involved – you could probably go to a third or a half of a locker room. I think they are not educated on the negatives towards it.

“I saw it when I was playing myself, and I saw the effect it had on both the performance and the health of the players I played with.

“It’s almost part of the footballer’s starter pack now – it’s the toiletry bag, the little snus jars.

“Sometimes players can have three or four under their upper lip at a time and that’s effectively the equivalent of smoking three or four cigarettes at a time.”

Smoking rates are at record highs in the UK, with the ambition to make England smoke-free by 2030.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Affairs said in a statement to the PA news agency: ‘The sale of oral tobacco is currently banned in the UK under current regulations.

“We are undertaking a review of the Tobacco and Allied Products Regulations 2016 and aim to publish a response later this year. “

Public Health England has estimated that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than smoking, while investigations into the impact of snus continue.

Dr Rachel Orritt, head of health information at Cancer Research UK, told PA: ‘Snus contains tobacco – the part of cigarettes that causes cancer – although the levels of some of the harmful chemicals are low. lower in snus.

“The jury is still out on the link between snus and cancer and it hasn’t been studied as much as some other types of tobacco.

“It is illegal to buy and sell in the UK. But, since snus is addictive, you can get help from your GP to stop using it. This also applies to other types of tobacco, whether smoked or not.

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