snus, a smokeless nicotine product placed between the upper lip and gumline, is shown.

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‘Snus’ use in football: Loughborough University and Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) launch joint research project

A new study led by Loughborough University will investigate the use of Snus in professional football.

Snus is a smokeless nicotine product placed between the upper lip and gumline, and its use by professional footballers is reported to be on the rise throughout the English game.

Snus use has been linked with heart conditions, oral disease and decreased physical performance.

The 12-month collaborative project with the footballers’ trade union, the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), will seek to identify how many professional players are using Snus, while also raising awareness of its negative health impacts.

Following a systematic review of existing evidence, researchers will conduct interviews with footballers who use Snus as well as staff within football clubs. Further data will also be captured through surveys shared with PFA members, canvassing existing attitudes and behaviours among professional footballers.

Lead researcher Dr Daniel Read, from the Institute for Sport Business, Loughborough University London, explained:

"There is a high level of concern in the football community about players using Snus and the potential impact this may have on their welfare. Through this project with the PFA, we hope to learn more from the players’ perspective to better support their physical and mental wellbeing."

Findings will feed into the PFA’s established welfare and safeguarding programmes, as well as informing football medical teams across the country of the risks involved. 

Dr Michael Bennett, the PFA’s Director of Player Wellbeing, said:

“Through our conversations with players and their clubs we are aware that there is a rise in the use of snus in the game. We want to use research like this to better understand that trend, the motivations of players and how aware they are of the risks.

“We can then use that knowledge to play our part in ensuring members are aware of the negative impacts that can be associated with Snus use.”

The project also includes Loughborough colleagues Dr Lee Taylor (@DrLeeTaylor) and Dr Ed Cope, both from the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences.

The first findings from the study are due to be presented in winter 2023.

If you currently play or work in football and would like to share your views on Snus use or have any questions about the research, please contact Daniel Read

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/139

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2024 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.