Snus and footballers

snus football


Snus and football

In recent years, an intriguing trend has emerged within the world of football: the use of Snus, a moist powder tobacco product, by players. Originating from Sweden, Snus has found its way into the pockets of athletes across Europe and beyond. This blog post delves into the reasons behind its rising popularity in football, exploring the potential benefits, risks, and the broader implications for the sport.

What is Snus?

Snus, a form of smokeless tobacco, is placed beneath the upper lip for prolonged durations. Unlike other smokeless tobacco options, Snus does not necessitate spitting, rendering it a discreet choice. It is packaged in small, teabag-style pouches and is offered in different flavors and nicotine levels.

Why is Snus Popular in Football?

Several factors contribute to the increasing use of Snus among footballers:

  1. Nicotine as a Stimulant: Nicotine, the primary active ingredient in Snus, acts as a stimulant. It can enhance focus, alertness, and reaction time, which are crucial for high-performance athletes. Footballers might use Snus to gain a quick mental boost during training sessions or matches.

  2. Stress and Anxiety Reduction: The pressures of professional football can be immense, leading to stress and anxiety. Some players may turn to Snus for its calming effects, as nicotine can provide a sense of relaxation and reduce anxiety levels.

  3. Social and Cultural Factors: In countries where Snus is widely accepted, such as Sweden, its use is normalized. This cultural acceptance can influence players from these regions to introduce Snus to their teammates, leading to a broader adoption within the team environment.

  4. Avoiding the Stigma of Smoking: Smoking is widely recognized as harmful to health and can impair athletic performance. Snus offers a smokeless alternative, allowing players to consume nicotine without the adverse effects and stigma associated with smoking.

  5. Brand and Image Considerations: Professional footballers are often mindful of their public image and brand. Smoking or vaping can be seen as damaging to their reputation, both in terms of health and public perception. Snus, being smokeless and discreet, offers a less stigmatizing alternative that is easier to conceal from the public and media, thus maintaining their brand integrity.

  6. Accessibility and Discretion: Snus is more accessible and can be used discreetly compared to smoking or vaping. This convenience makes it a practical choice for players who want to consume nicotine without drawing attention to themselves. Its compact packaging and ease of use allow footballers to incorporate it into their routines without disrupting their activities or attracting negative scrutiny.

  7. Possible Link to Undiagnosed ADHD: Another hypothesis worth considering is the potential link between Snus use and undiagnosed ADHD in some football players. ADHD is often characterized by impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity, which can affect an individual’s ability to focus and manage stress. Nicotine is known to have stimulant properties, which can temporarily alleviate some of these symptoms, improving concentration and reducing restlessness. This self-medicating behavior might explain why some players turn to Snus as a coping mechanism.

ADHD and Football: An Intriguing Intersection

ADHD is an interest-based and reward-driven condition, characterized by hyperactivity and a need for stimulation. Given that football is a profession that is rewarding, instantly gratifying at times, and something players can hyperfocus on due to their genuine interest, it serves as an ideal outlet for individuals with ADHD. Football allows players to channel their creativity—often a feature of ADHD—and expend excess energy in a structured and socially acceptable manner. This environment might naturally attract individuals with ADHD, who thrive on the high-energy, fast-paced nature of the sport.

Transitions and Unmasking ADHD Symptoms

footballer snus

Transitions in life, such as injury, career termination, or retirement, can often unmask or exacerbate ADHD symptoms. During their active career, footballers with undiagnosed ADHD may effectively manage their symptoms through the structure, routine, and physical exertion that the sport provides. However, when these elements are disrupted due to injury or retirement, the lack of structure and increased free time can lead to heightened ADHD symptoms. This can result in increased impulsivity, difficulty concentrating, and a greater reliance on coping mechanisms such as Snus to manage stress and maintain focus.

ADHD and Dopamine Imbalance

ADHD is closely linked to dopamine imbalance in certain parts of the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in reward, motivation, and attention. Individuals with ADHD often have lower levels of dopamine, which can lead to difficulties in maintaining focus and controlling impulses. To compensate for this imbalance, many individuals with ADHD engage in dopamine-chasing behaviors to self-medicate and temporarily correct the deficiency.

Dopamine Chasing Behaviours

Substances or behaviours linked to instant gratification, novelty seeking, excitement or a quick fix help rebalance dopamine. 

Social Media/phone use


Impulse buying/Spending

Sexual indiscretions


Driving related issues

The pursuit of success



Nitrous Oxide


The mood and emotional symptoms

In addition to the physical health risks, the study sheds light on the emotional and psychological challenges faced by players. Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) manifests as emotional dysregulation, self-esteem issues, irritability, anger, sensitivity to perceived criticism, social anxiety, and avoidance. These symptoms often lead to adaptive strategies such as masking, perfectionism, people-pleasing, and even self-harming behavior. Understanding these emotional challenges is crucial, especially in the context of ADHD, where these symptoms are prevalent and often exacerbated by the pressures of professional sports.

Why symptoms remain hidden

Professional football clubs, agents, and player liaisons often provide a scaffolding or external structure that compensates for these challenges. However, once this structure is removed, such as during career transitions or personal changes, these symptoms can become unmasked, revealing the underlying struggles. This is compounded by the double stigma of discussing mental health openly and the perceived stigmatizing label of ADHD, making it even more difficult for players to seek help.

Dopamine-Chasing Behaviors in Footballers

In our experience working with high-profile elite athletes, particularly footballers, we have observed various behaviors aimed at balancing dopamine levels. These include extensive social media use, gaming, impulsive buying, gambling, sexual indiscretions, driving offenses, relentless pursuit of success, caffeine consumption, sugar intake, and alcohol use. Additionally, many athletes struggle with chronic sleep issues and often resort to the misuse of sleeping tablets. Nicotine, found in Snus, is another substance used to release dopamine in the brain, providing temporary relief from dopamine imbalance symptoms.

The Risks and Downsides

Despite the perceived benefits, the use of Snus is not without risks:

  1. Health Concerns: Long-term use of Snus is associated with various health risks, including gum disease, tooth decay, and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. The nicotine in Snus is also highly addictive, leading to dependency.

  2. Performance Implications: While nicotine might provide a short-term boost, its long-term effects on athletic performance are less clear. Dependence on Snus for stress relief or focus could lead to inconsistent performance if access to it is restricted.

  3. Ethical and Legal Considerations: The use of any substance to gain a competitive edge raises ethical questions. While Snus is legal in many countries, its use in professional sports can blur the lines between acceptable behavior and performance enhancement.

The Future of Snus in Football

As Snus use becomes more prevalent in football, it is crucial for governing bodies, teams, and players to address its implications. Education on the risks and responsible use of Snus is essential to ensure players make informed choices. Additionally, further research into its long-term effects on health and performance is needed to guide policy and regulation.


The use of Snus in football highlights the ongoing quest for ways to enhance performance and cope with the demands of the sport. While it may offer certain benefits, the potential health risks and ethical concerns cannot be ignored. As the trend continues, a balanced approach that prioritizes player well-being and fair play will be key to navigating the complex landscape of substance use in professional sports.

This blog post aims to shed light on the nuanced issue of Snus use in football, providing a comprehensive overview of the reasons behind its popularity and the potential consequences. If you have any personal experiences or insights on this topic, feel free to share them in the comments below.

I have been actively raising awareness about the dangers of Snus. However, I believe it is crucial to also understand the underlying drivers and triggers that contribute to its use among footballers. Snus contains nicotine, a stimulant that releases dopamine in the brain. It is well-known that many individuals use substances or engage in behaviors that help correct underlying dopamine imbalances.

Among footballers, we observe various behaviors aimed at balancing dopamine levels. These include extensive social media use, gaming, impulsive buying, gambling, sexual indiscretions, driving offenses, relentless pursuit of success, caffeine consumption, sugar intake, and alcohol use. Additionally, many athletes struggle with chronic sleep issues and often resort to the misuse of sleeping tablets.

I have long advocated for recognizing and screening for neurodevelopmental conditions within this population. I would be delighted to offer any assistance or further discuss this matter with you. Please feel free to reach out if you are interested in exploring this topic further.

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