By Ollie Norman, Content Marketing Manager at Edge Vaping
Scientists discovered nicotine around 1571. Since then, its influence on the human body has been thoroughly studied and the impact on physical performance, notably endurance, oxygen intake, and lung capacity, remains a focus of health professionals.
Vaping is now banned at professional sports venues in the UK for spectators. Do the same regulations apply if you’re a professional athlete?
EDGE Vaping investigated collated studies on the cardiovascular effects of vaping and smoking on the human body to understand their effects on endurance performance, as well as how professional sports bodies view both of these forms of taking in nicotine.
Nicotine’s physical effects
Nicotine is absorbed and circulated throughout the body via the bloodstream. While race, gender, and age all affect the rate and impact of nicotine absorption, the effects are mostly the same.
Once ingested, nicotine is likely to raise the user’s blood pressure and heart rate. High blood pressure is commonly associated with strong athletes, as an elevated heart rate can increase oxygen distribution – an advantage in endurance sports. However, because nicotine narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow, the increasing demand for blood circulation from physical exertion can result in a shortage of blood where it is required in the body.
Nicotine has been shown to have diuretic properties, which means that those who vape are more likely to be dehydrated when using it. This property is especially undesirable during physical effort. When the body requires more fluids, taking diuretics may result in water depletion at a much faster rate, potentially impairing an athlete’s performance.
Do professional athletes smoke?
Historically, smoking cigarettes was the most common way to intake nicotine. Professional sportsmen have been spotted smoking over the decades; footballer Wayne Rooney, cycling star Eddy Merckx, and basketball player Michael Jordan, to mention a few, have all notoriously used nicotine while at the pinnacle of their sporting careers.
However, modern-day sports health specialists unanimously agree that smoking has a harmful impact on oxygen circulation to the heart, lungs, and muscles. Cigarettes can also promote inflammation in the bones and joints, which can contribute to illnesses like osteoporosis.
As a result, sporting organisations introduced a blanket ban on cigarettes in top-tier sports. The question remains, though, whether vaping is prohibited in professional sports.
Can UK athletes vape?
While many sporting associations ban it, there is no law prohibiting athletes from taking nicotine, whether by vaping, cigarettes, nicotine patches, gums, or any other manner.
As a result, as a professional sports athlete, you may opt to vape despite the fact that health professionals advise against the use of nicotine during performance sports.
However, the impact of vaping is essentially restricted to the effect of nicotine on the body, whereas taking nicotine through cigarettes invites a considerably higher risk of cardiovascular disorders, not to mention the future carcinogenic consequences, which are certain to restrict your physical performance. Athletes currently smoking can consider making the switch to vaping to lessen the impact on their physical performance.