Watch a professional esports match of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or League of Legends for long enough, and you’ll likely see at least one of the players involved pulling out a small tin from their pocket before putting something in their mouths. It’s certainly not gone unnoticed on Reddit, with countless threads springing up to question the practice.
Scandinavian fans likely know the answer already, but the mystery was soon solved: the product in question, more often than not, is snus, a smokeless tobacco product that is placed inside the upper lip. Popular in Sweden for centuries, snus is gaining in popularity around the rest of the world – with sports and esports stars alike known to particularly favour the product. The likes of SuNny, Krimz and many more have all been seen on live stream ‘dipping’ in recent months, either before or during games, courting a lot of intrigue amongst spectators.
Away from the esports world, a number of Premier League footballers and other sports stars are also known to enjoy the product as part of their lifestyle. There are anecdotal suggestions that snus can provide a temporary mental and physical boost, with England striker Jamie Vardy having claimed it helped improve his sharpness, having dipped after giving up the occasional cigarette.
Such reasons may explain why snus is so popular amongst esports players – where concentration and mental alertness are two of the primary keys to success. A number of online retailers are embracing the product, and, similarly to vapes, snus is available in a number of different flavours; tobacco, fruity and coffee variations being amongst the most popular.
Unlike electronic and conventional cigarettes, snus can be a more convenient and discreet way for esports players to consume nicotine, especially when they’re indoors, competing in locations where lighting up or vaping simply isn’t a viable or preferable option.
Some players make snus part of their pre-game ritual, with the consumption of energy drinks and listening to ‘warm-up’ music with headphones also being popular amongst professionals. Others, meanwhile, have been known to consume snus during matches themselves or at breaks in play. The last few years have shown that the popularity of snus has now grown far beyond its Swedish origins, and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops in tandem with the esports industry.