Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has led the Premier League’s response to Sportsmail’s investigation into the spiralling use of snus within the game.
As revealed on Friday, dozens of footballers are using the smokeless tobacco, the sale of which has been banned in the EU outside Sweden since 1992.
The explosion in usage has sparked health fears and concerns snus may be being used to give users a competitive advantage over those who are not taking it.
Speaking ahead of table-topping City’s trip to Everton on Saturday, Guardiola revealed that the club’s doctor has spoken to their players about the stimulant, which is not banned but which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) watchlist.
‘I know about that only this morning when the doctor came into my office to talk about that,’ said Guardiola.
The Catalan added that he was unaware of the effects of snus, which one academic said may improve alertness, concentration, strength and power.
‘I don’t know the benefits or pleasure of that,’ he said. ‘I was preparing the training session. I will ask him.’
Our probe was told of one player, a heavy snus user, who underwent treatment for gum cancer while managers spoke of players using it during matches and as an appetite suppressant.
Tins of snus cost as little as £7.99 via the internet. The substance comes in tea-bag style pouches which are placed between the top lip and the gum. One pouch can provide the nicotine equivalent of three cigarettes.
Elsewhere, it is understood that Liverpool are actively discouraging snus use and are confident they do not have any users at Anfield.
Snus is manufactured in Sweden, where it is not banned from sale. Manchester United’s Swedish defender Victor Lindelof appears to be a fan, according to a series of comments on his social media accounts and pictures of tins of the stimulant.
Manchester United declined to comment.
The investigation also highlighted a number of social media accounts purporting to be snus sellers – and the fact that dozens of footballers across all four divisions followed them.
They included Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles.
Lascelles’ manager, Rafa Benitez, said he too would be speaking to his medical staff about snus.
‘I will talk with the medical department and analyse,’ Benitez said. ‘Normally you don’t worry about these things.’
Sportsmail revealed the growing use of snus in Friday’s edition of The Daily Mail
Benitez added that he was unaware of players taking snus at the club but added that he was aware it was a discussion point.
‘I was surprised when they were telling me and I know people are talking about this,’ the Spaniard said. ‘But it is not an issue for us because I did not know.’
Our investigation revealed that one Championship club was fining any player found in possession of snus £10,000.
When asked if he would consider a similar ban, Benitez responded: ‘I will talk with the doctor and we will see where we are.’
Meanwhile, the Football Association has reiterated its commitment to warning players of the dangers of legal highs amid reports of the growing use of ‘snus’ tobacco in the game while the EFL is also compliant with the FA’s anti-doping programme.