The performance-enhancing effects of nicotine included increased "vigilance and cognitive function," and reduced stress and body weight.
"Interestingly, nicotine also triggers a significant increase of pulse rate, blood pressure, blood sugar and epinephrine release owing to simultaneous stimulant and relaxant properties," the report said.
"Smokeless tobacco is a very attractive drug from a doping perspective," researchers suggested, because it did not damage an athlete's breathing and respiratory system.
Isn't this curious? Smoking gives athletes an unfair advantage in competitive sport!
This was my understanding of tobacco control's view of smoking and sport:
- Tobacco smoke affects the lungs so that they work less efficiently. They can't pick up the amount of oxygen that a body needs when it is working hard.
- Tobacco smoke contains a chemical (carbon monoxide) that gets into the blood stream and prevents it from picking up oxygen.
- Tobacco smoke contains other chemicals that affect the circulation of blood. They make the blood vessels smaller so that they are less able to carry oxygen when your body is burning up large amounts of energy.
They really want to eat their cake and have it. Maybe the truth is that anti-smokers have failed to demonstrate that smokers don't perform well in sport – the next best conclusion is that their smoking gives them an unfair advantage over everyone else, and that smokers are cheats.