Manchester United’s David de Gea has been spotted with one on occasion. Sir Bradley Wiggins, a man with a lung capacity two litres above the norm, has also indulged. When it comes to vaping, the name given to e-cigarette smoking, a small number of top athletes feel more inclined to indulge in a nicotine hit – or at least, not be so secretive about it.
There’s a stigma to smoking traditional cigarettes already – but when one is seen on the lips of a professional sports person, that stigma turns to shock. How can someone who makes a living out of being in peak physical shape put it all at risk by smoking? What do they get out of smoking anyway?
Smokers often develop oral fixations in times of stress, with just the act of moving something up to the mouth becoming a familiar, relaxing motion. And of course nicotine is a well-known, highly addictive substance.
So it’s perhaps understandable that some athletes choose to unwind with a cigarette after a tough match or a day of fraught competition.
That’s why e-cigarettes are such an attractive alternative option. They look and taste like traditional cigarettes, and produce much the same feelings and sensations in their users. However, the thousands of toxins and harmful chemicals are to a great degree absent.
E-liquids, the replaceable substances that contain the nicotine and flavour delivered by an e-cigarette, come in many different varieties. You can even buy them with no nicotine whatsoever, for a stimulant-free vaping experience. Many forms are available on the market, from homemade variants featuring exotic flavours to those manufactured in laboratory conditions akin to leading pharmaceutical companies.
E-liquid analysis by EL Science is one such example that falls squarely into the latter camp, and all output is rigorously tested and analysed to ensure that anything produced for public consumption is fully compliant.
Although the full impact, and potential side effects, of vaping are still being researched by the government, many people successfully use e-cigarettes as a bridge between tobacco smoking and eventually being entirely tobacco-free.
And since tobacco smoking has been shown to reduce lung capacity, increase dehydration and make the immune system more vulnerable to infections and illnesses, vaping becomes an attractive option to athletes – or indeed anyone interested in the benefits of exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
There’s no carbon monoxide inhalation. That means the lungs and airways don’t suffer the debilitating effects smoking would cause. The blood’s capacity to transport oxygen around the body is also unaffected by vaping, whereas smokers would find this reduced.
Then there are the longer-term benefits of smoking an alternative to tobacco cigarettes; an all-round feeling of having more get-up-and-go. Whiter teeth, fresher breath and healthier looking hair.
The chances of developing serious conditions are cut as soon as tobacco smoking is reduced or stopped completely. Diseases including cancers, lung disease, heart disease, ulcers, mouth and throat infections and more are surely high on the list of everyone’s least-wanted dangers – whether you’re a professional sprinter or plumber.