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Is WADA about to ban nicotine?

The World Anti-Doping Agency has added nicotine to its monitoring list, paving the way for a possible ban at some point in the future.

Miguel Angel Jimenez: drugs cheat?
Miguel Angel Jimenez: drugs cheat?
Image: Nick Wass/AP/Press Association Images

IN A MOVE that could have far-reaching consequences, the World Anti-Doping Agency has added nicotine to its 2012 substance monitoring list. The move comes in the wake of the publication of an apparently shocking study detailing the use of tobacco in 43 separate sporting disciplines.

In correspondance with Golfweek’s Alex Miceli, a spokesperson for the agency claimed WADA’s intention wasn’t to “target smokers,” but to “monitor the effects nicotine can have on performance when taken in oral tobacco products.”

““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 use of chewing tobacco is a common sight in Major League Baseball and on the PGA Tour. Unsurprisingly, then, the decision has generated a considerable backlash.

2009 US Open champion, who would be among those directly effected by a ban, described the logic underpinning the decision as “crazy”.

“If you’re going to do that, you might as well outlaw drinking, too… Alcohol is a drug, as is nicotine. I mean, if you really wanted to get down to it, caffeine is a stimulant, too.”

Should nicotine eventually find itself added to WADA’s list of banned substances, the PGA Tour wouldn’t be legally compelled to follow suit. Ty Votaw, the Tour’s executive vice president of of communications and international affairs, clarified the matter:

“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.”

To date, only one player– the hapless Doug Barron– has fallen foul of golf’s anti-doping policy.

Read more on WADA nicotine policy from Golfweek>

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