A French footballer photographed with snus: what is this illegal tobacco popular with athletes?

Although illegal in the European Union, snus seems to be gaining more and more followers, especially in sports circles. A few days ago, a French footballer was seen with a box of snus in his hand on the plane taking him to Qatar for the World Cup.

A Blues player who consumes snus? The image made the rounds on social media. In a story shared on Instagram by Karim Benzema on November 17, while the France team was on the plane to Qatar, we could see Marcus Thuram holding what appears to be a box of snus. The attacker then shared the photo again, this time hiding the box under an emoji.

Snus is a nicotine-based stimulant, usually sold in the form of small sachets to stick on the gum. Since 1992, its sale has been strictly prohibited in the European Union, with the exception of Sweden. He has however managed to make a small place for himself in Belgian schools, warned, last February, the toxicologist of KU Leuven, Jan Tytgat. Snus is also increasingly popular among athletes. Especially in the world of winter sports, such as skiing or ice hockey, where the practice has never been taboo, at least until ten years ago.

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Improve performances

Today, no sport is spared, not even football. A few years ago, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was spotted chewing on the pitch. Ditto for the Englishman Jamie Vardy, who had publicly acknowledged his addiction and had warned of the dangers of the substance. According to Le Monde, snus sachets are regularly found in European training centers, mainly in Belgium and France.

According to a study by Italian researchers on the effects of snus in sports, this moist tobacco helps improve the performance of athletes, as it “increases alertness, improves coordination and cognitive performance, heart rate and blood circulation”.


The consumption of snus is however not without danger. Since it is not inhaled, it would not increase the risk of lung cancer. However, this tobacco contains a high dose of nicotine (one sachet equivalent to three cigarettes) and compounds recognized as carcinogens (can cause cancer, Ed).

Prolonged use of snus can destroy the hygiene of teeth and gums. “The acidity of your mouth is notably disturbed by the strong nicotine base present, which can even have a corrosive effect,” says Professor Jan Tytgat. “Also, nicotine reduces the acidity of our saliva and opens the way for all kinds of bacteria in the mouth. These in turn can lead to gum infections and death.”


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