FOOTBALL is on alert with the rise of chewing tobacco snus, as a number of players are among those who use the substance as an alternative to cigarettes.
However, experts claim that snus is NOT a healthier alternative to smoking, but rather that it can be even more deadly. Here’s what we know about the substance.
What is snus?
Snus is a form of smokeless tobacco most typically popular in Scandinavia.
A variant of dry snuff, it is placed under the upper lip for extensive periods.
Sale of snus is illegal across the European Union, with the exception of Sweden, where it originated in the 18th century.
But it is also manufactured in the US, where production standards are typically lower than in Sweden and significant quantities of sweeteners tend to be used.
What are the health risks of snus and how do they differ from smoking?
Researchers have now found several types of bacteria in smokeless tobacco – such as spice – that could cause inflammation of the lungs and other infections.
Users hold the products against the lining of their mouths for extended periods of time, in order to allow nicotine to pass into the bloodstream.
And experts say this also gives the bacteria – Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus pumilus – the chance to enter the body.
This is a particular risk for people with gum disease, which smokeless tobacco is known to cause, because it causes gaps for the bacteria to pass through.
Researcher Dr Steven Foley, from the National Center for Toxicological Research, United States, said: “Some species (of bacteria) have been identified as causative agents in spice-related outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting.
“Additionally, they produce a mild toxin which, in large quantities could cause illness.”
Bacteria have also been blamed for creating cancer-causing chemicals within the tobacco.
What celebrities use snus?
Vardy was pictured leaving the England team’s hotel holding a tin of Thunder “snus” tobacco during Euro 2016.
A portion of the substance, which contains 27mg of nicotine, was previously pictured under his top lip while he was watching Leicester’s end-of-season draw with Manchester United.
Speaking about his love of snus and energy drink Red Bull, he said: “It’s just something I’ve always done and they’ve been checked with the medical team, and there’s nothing wrong with them.”
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Newcastle player Jamaal Lascelles both follow accounts on social media that claim to source snus.
Ex Stoke and Southampton star Danny Higginbotham used snus during his 15 year career, saying that it relaxed him.
Musician Tim Bergling, better known as Avicii, who died on April 20, 2018, was also a fan of it, telling Spin that his favourite flavour was General White.