What if the World Anti-Doping Agency were to add nicotine to the list of performance-enhancing drugs? Well, first, you’d laugh and say something about the only thing nicotine has ever enhanced is the chance for cancer. And then I’d tell you that, unfortunately, I wasn’t joking.
The WADA has taken the initial moves to categorize nicotine as a PED, according to Golfweek‘s Alex Miceli:
“It is not WADA’s intention to target smokers, rather to monitor the effects nicotine can have on performance when taken in oral tobacco products such as snus,” Terence O’Rorke, a spokesman for the WADA, wrote to Golfweek in an email. “The sole purpose (of including nicotine on the monitoring list) is to collect data on the potential abuse of nicotine as a performance enhancer.”
The PGA Tour, which started testing in 2008 for recreational and performance-enhancing substances, has adopted most of the WADA list of banned substances and procedures.
“If WADA put nicotine on its anti-doping list, the PGA Tour would review the addition and determine if it warranted inclusion on the current PGA Tour banned list,” said Ty Votaw, the Tour’s executive vice president of communications and international affairs. “However, we do not believe that such a change in imminent.”
Now this would impact at least half the guys on Tour. Really? Yep. (So you’d see a lot of players tweaking out from withdrawals if nicotine were ever banned.) Of the tobacco users, most of them chew, including the ’09 US Open champ:
Lucas Glover, who regularly uses smokeless tobacco on and off the course, called the idea “crazy.”
“If you’re going to do that, you might as well outlaw drinking, too,” he said. “Alcohol is a drug, as is nicotine. I mean, if you really wanted to get down to it, caffeine is a stimulant, too.”
(AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain, File)