Tobacco use kills approximately five million people worldwide every year. Cigarette smoking is one of the world’s leading causes to many serious diseases and human deaths, and it reduces both the quality of life and its duration. Tobacco use, especially cigarette smoking, has been associated with many life-threatening diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and lung cancer. On top of that, tobacco affects the health of your teeth and gums, disturbs sleep patterns and reduces fertility both in men and women. If no people smoked, one of every three cancer deaths in middle-aged men would not happen.
Professional athletes are no exception to both immediate and long-standing effects of tobacco smoking – they are prone to the same dangerous health effects. Smoking takes a toll both on exercise and physical activity as the respiratory and the cardiovascular systems are severely damaged by smoking because our heart, lungs and muscles need oxygen-rich blood. In fact, smokers have lungs that operate at 70% capacity and that can impede the body’s normal function and lead to reduced athletic performance. In order to be able to perform at the competitive level and function optimally, athletes need to lead a healthy and tobacco free lifestyle.
The reasons why quitting smoking is a life-changing decision are indeed many. If you are looking to quit smoking, but find it hard to give up the addiction, the journey to a healthier life can start with replacing cigarettes with snus. In terms of health effects, snus falls into the middle – it’s safer than traditional cigarettes as it is smoke-free, but not as safe as abstinence. Furthermore, switching to nicotine- or tobacco-free snus can be an essential part of your plan to quit smoking as it reduces nicotine cravings and helps you manage other withdrawal symptoms and reduce the addiction-related stress.