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.
"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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org