Everyone’s talking about it in the soccer world, especially in England: yes indeed, the tobacco product snus is at the heart of a new controversy. This powdered form of tobacco has seen great success, especially amongst British soccer players. But it isn’t without its detractors.
Snus is presented as a bag of tea that can be placed under the top lip. Unlike cigarettes, it does not contain any cancer risks. This product is thus seen as a perfect alternative to cigarettes, as each packet contains the equivalent of three cigarettes worth of nicotine.
If many athletes have started using snus, it is because it allows them to relax before playing a match. Danny Higginbotham, former player at Stoke at Southampton, has used snus throughout his career. More recently, Jamie Vardy, a skilled team player for the English team, was photographed holding a box of Thunder-brand snus. This is the photo that launched the snus controversy.
Snus: “The Royal Road to Smoking?”
Amongst the snus detractors are Stanton Glantz, a tobacco specialist and one of snus’ biggest critics. He claims that consuming snus is like “putting poison in your mouth”. According to him, snus contains just as many carcinogenic elements as traditional cigarettes. It should be noted that Glantz is a controversial figure, and is currently facing serious problems.
The problem is football players are supposed to be an example for young people. Glantz believes that if soccer stars use snus, it might encourage young people to try it as well, which could lead them to smoking cigarettes. He completely dismisses the argument that it is less harmful than traditional cigarettes. According to him, “whether you jump out of the 10th floor or the 20th floor, the end result is still the same.”
Faced with these controversies, those in defence of alternatives to tobacco have also reacted. Based on a study in Lancet showing the absence of long-term health effects when using snus, many people are complaining about unfounded, bad publicity. According to them, it is essential to encourage people to turn towards alternatives in order to effectively fight against tobacco.