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Nicotine, Smoking, and Sports

smoking athlete

Smoking has definitely seen its populate wane in recent years.  There are just fewer people that are smoking, it seems.  That, likely, requires qualification because it may not be true for all areas or countries.  It’s safe to say that in parts of Asia, smoking is still very popular with many people taking part in smoking cigarettes.

But, when we look at the United States, the story is different.  There was a lot of backlash and vocal criticism of smoking and the tobacco industry in the past couple of decades.  The companies involved in the industry were demonized for their role in the health impacts that arises from the activity.  Those impacts are lung cancer, throat cancer, emphysema, premature aging, and a variety of other ill effects.

There have been popular movies, some based on fact, that have come about also leading to the overall downfall of smoking as a glamorous or desirable activity.  Again, this all holds true in the United States and maybe some other parts of the Western developed countries.  But, in other places, like Asia and Latin America it likely isn’t true or not as much.

Interestingly, there has been information and concern that it’s not so much the tobacco itself that is the cause of the bulk of the health problems.  That, it may in fact be the additional additives that are involved in the cigarette product.  These are chemicals, maybe by-products, perhaps environmental pollutants, or items added to potentially make the product more desirable to the user from a physiological perspective.  Some of this may be conjecture or conspiracy theories, but some of it has also been based on facts.  One company that was squarely in the cross-hairs of the anti-smoking crowd was RJ Reynolds.  They are a long-time tobacco and cigarette producer and took a beating in the popular media and in the courts.

Now, when we look at smoking and the athlete, it’s very interesting.  You would think that smoking isn’t something an athlete would do in terms of his or her performance.  Surprisingly, however, there are quite a few athletes that did and still do smoke.  We won’t name names here, but they are fairly well known and a Google search will uncover that it’s not that rare.  The reason that folks may want to smoke or one of the reasons is the delivery of the nicotine that tobacco contains into the user’s body.  Nicotine is a classified drug that has certain affects, one of them being a depressant.  So, some athletes may potentially have a use for such an affect on their bodies in conjunction with whatever sport they participate.

So, what is really interesting in recent development is the advent of electronic cigarettes.  These products provide the ability to get nicotine delivered into the body without actually smoking, per se.  This has been a good thing to at least get folks to a better and more healthy place.  Another very interesting part is that these products can provide a range of flavors, scents, and experiences for the user.  Here’s a site that explains these well and has an interesting item called the RedKiwi.