Premier League stars putting nicotine pouches between their TOES to avoid being caught amid PFA snus investigation | The Sun

PREMIER LEAGUE stars are putting oral nicotine pouches between their TOES to avoid the hair dryer treatment from managers – after the PFA launched an investigation into controversial snus.

The method means users get a fast hit of nicotine through the skin, without raising suspicions of the coaches or being caught out by eagle-eyed cameras or fans around the pitch.

Snus – a small bag of tobacco that sits behind the lip – has been linked to health concerns.

The PFA reported in March it was helping several top-flight players with snus addiction but nicotine pouches are tobacco-free, with research showing the drug can boost concentration, strength and stamina.

This led to a spike in popularity with players like Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles and former Arsenal and Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all being linked to its use.

Last year Newcastle's Mark Gillespie and Aston Villa's Bertrand Traore were both caught on camera appearing to use oral nicotine.


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And amid the PFA concerns but a determination to still get the benefits without club penalties, stars have now taken to hiding how they take it.

A Premier League top-five team staffer said: “We find them in players’ socks and on the dressing room floor.

“The reason is simple – they don’t want the hairdryer treatment from the gaffer.

“Their use is extensive because players think it gives them a lift so while senior coaches are aware and disapprove, they are reluctant to ban something that is legal and popular with high-performing members of the team. It’s easier to turn a blind eye than kick up a stink.”

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World-class footballers of the past have been known to smoke, including French legend Zinedine Zidane and England’s Paul Gascoigne, but with clear effects on fitness and health cigarettes have been long shunned by athletes.

However, players are still seeking ways to take nicotine without the adverse health effects associated with the delivery method of the drug.

Richard Crosby, co-founder of campaign group Considerate Pouchers UK, said: “Players don’t smoke any more, which is great because combustible tobacco kills. That doesn’t mean the research on nicotine is wrong and there is real evidence it increases anaerobic performance.

“Top-flight players want these benefits without the criticism, so may feel they have to conceal their use of something perfectly legal.

“We should remember nicotine pouches are designed to stop people using cigarettes, and you no longer see footballers smoke. If more fans see nicotine pouches as a safer alternative to smoking, then their use by influential sports stars should be welcomed, not punished.”

Research into the effects of nicotine on athletes is ongoing.

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

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

Archery scores were also ‘significantly increased’ after taking nicotine, with the report concluding the drug ‘enhances the performance of archery athletes by increasing cognitive function’.

In similar research by the European Journal of Applied Physiology, which tested the strength and athletic performance of 16 non-smoking healthy males aged 24-29 in 2018, results showed ‘peak and average power output were significantly greater following nicotine administration’.

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And it concluded ‘oral-dispersible nicotine strips increase repeated anaerobic performance’.

These results have led known users like Vardy to believe they will have quicker reactions and better results on the pitch.

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