English Premiership

Sunderland boss alarmed by use of snus in English football

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Soccer ball (Photo by Francisco Estrada/LatinContent via Getty Images)
Soccer ball (Photo by Francisco Estrada/LatinContent via Getty Images)

Footballers have become so addicted to Swedish tobacco product snus that they even beg doctors for it when they are in hospital, Sunderland boss Lee Johnson has warned.

Possessing and using snus -- sachets of which are placed under the upper lip -- is legal in Britain but its sale is banned in the UK and the European Union except in Sweden, where it is widely manufactured and consumed.

Even with no smoke inhaled, Johnson said the impact of the habit could be detrimental to physical and mental health.

"I have had players so addicted that they are in hospital with something else and are begging the doctors and nurses to get them a tub (of snus)," he told talkSPORT radio.

"Otherwise they say they are going to run out of bed and get (it) themselves when they have just had a knee operation.

"It is so addictive that it comes to the forefront of our minds, which becomes dangerous."

Johnson, who has managed the tier-three English club since 2020, highlighted the scale of the issue and his fears over the concentrated nicotine hit.

"I see how many players are actually on it -- you could probably go to maybe a third or half of a dressing room," he said. "I think they are uneducated on the negatives towards it."

Johnson added: "I have seen it when I was playing myself, and I have seen the effect it had in both performance and also on the health of the players I have played with.

"It is almost part of the footballer's starter pack now -- it is the washbag, the little tubs of snus.

"Sometimes players can have three or four under their top lip at one time and it is effectively the equivalent of smoking three or four cigarettes at one time."

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