Do Professional Athletes And Sports People Use Vapes?
Statistics behind vaping and e-cigarettes tend to differ from one report to another. In 2021 though, the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction estimated that around 82 million people were using electronic cigarettes of one type or another.
In the US, about 1 in 20 people is said to vape now, and the likelihood is many of these people probably take part in some form of sports or physical activity.
However, why would even an amateur sports person want to vape, and how does it affect performance compared to smoking?
Why would an athlete use a vape?
Today, buying vaping products is as easy as going online and clicking through the pages of an Elfbar Shop. Vaping is socially acceptable when compared to smoking, and less likely to be harmful.
Vape juices tend to smell far nicer than stagnant cigarette odors and with flavors, as varied as blueberry and cola, vaping is seen as less offensive to the senses than tobacco smoke. Yet, athletes need to be in tip-top condition so why would any of them want to use a vape?
One reason for using a vape is to quit smoking. In the UK, some high-profile footballers have been spotted smoking cigarettes including Wayne Rooney. Any athlete who smokes might switch to a vape to help them quit.
Smoking bans include sporting venues which may lead some athletes and coaches to move over to vaping.
For example, certain sports such as pool, snooker, and darts, have traditionally been played in venues where the audience and the players could smoke. With smoking bans in place, vapes are an acceptable alternative.
Can athletes use vapes in amateur and professional sports?
Nicotine is not on the banned list of substances that professional athletes must avoid. Indeed, no professional sporting body has outlawed cigarettes, vaping, or nicotine.
While your sports venue of choice might prohibit the use of vapes on the premises, there is no reason why an amateur or professional athlete can’t chew nicotine gum or carry on vaping.
In the US, about 14% of adults smoke cigarettes. Yet, smoking has no place in MMA or any other sport. Smoking neither improves health nor enhances performance. So, some athletes might find vaping more acceptable as long as it doesn’t harm their training.
How do vaping and smoking affect performance in athletes?
Cigarettes are a danger to any smoker’s health and those around them, but as an athlete, you might be interested to understand how smoking affects your performance.
Effects of smoking on sporting performance
Athletes need oxygen-rich blood for peak performance, but smoking causes oxygen to be displaced. This leads to lower endurance levels, fatigue, and poor performance.
Smoking will lead an athlete to experience increased lactic acid. This will then lead to muscle burn and post-exercise soreness. Athletes who smoke will find themselves out of breath much quicker than non-smoking teammates or the opposition.
Effects of vaping on sporting performance
Many of the harmful chemicals in cigarettes are not present in e-liquids. Therefore, carbon monoxide and tar are not produced when someone vapes leading to potentially healthier lungs than those seen in smokers.
However, vaping still involves nicotine usually. Inhaling nicotine can affect physiological responses. In effect, nicotine could help say, a baseball player, to hit the ball more effectively.
Switching to a lower-nicotine vape juice or a completely nicotine-free e-liquid will negate any issues here.
What sportspeople are known to vape?
David de Gea became the first goalkeeper to win EPL Player of the Month in six years. This football star has also been spotted vaping more than once.
A little closer to home, ex-UFC and current WWE fighter, Rhonda Rousey, is known to vape, sometimes even before a bout. And in the world of snooker, Jimmy White is one of the players who ditched cigarettes for vaping when taking part in tournaments.
Smoking is harmful to training performance, so these athletes and sports stars have chosen to vape instead of puffing on cigarettes, and relevant sports bodies have seen nothing to be concerned about. As for other MMA fighters, Nate Diaz is known to support vaping, while Connor McGregor has posted Instagram stories while visibly vaping.
In no way should any athlete who doesn’t already smoke take up vaping, but a committed smoker could improve their performance by switching to an e-cigarette.
Smoking cigarettes zaps energy and reduces endurance by starving muscles of oxygen. And any athlete who smokes is likely to notice they are out of breath far quicker than they used to be.
A move to vaping with a lower nicotine level can be the first step for an athlete to stop smoking, and see better training sessions, and performance on the track, the in the octagon, or on the field.
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