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Kotoviki

Smoking rikishi

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I know of no studies on the subject of nicotine's effect on sports performance, but as it *is* a stimulant it would be unsurprising if it didn't have a positive one which partially offsets the cardiovascular harm tobacco is known to cause, at least in younger athletes where cumulative harm is relatively small.

This is an interesting question, though I would guess that for the stimulant effect to help you would need to smoke immediately before a match. Of course, for a habitual smoker this could have a calming effect as well.

I do wonder how small the cumulative harm would be in a younger athlete, however. Smoking can apparently (I'm no expert) impact on endurance levels, impede oxygen flow slowing down muscle gain etc, irrespective of age. The most obvious thing smoking would negatively impact on is thus not the one-off honbasho match, but the daily grind of keiko. Even if the reduction in endurance is only, say 1 or 2%, stretch this out over weeks, months and years of daily keiko and you have a significant edge lost to a non-smoker who started at the same time.

Of course, giving up smoking is likely to lead to an immediate drop in form, as you deal with the horrors of nicotine withdrawal (I'm an ex-pack-a-day smoker, and shivered in bed for a week after giving up), but in the long term those small edges add up.

Edit: Found this study (http://iospress.metapress.com/content/8vw456v008454356/) which states that 'Smoking is associated with increased muscle fatiguability and impairment of back strength in athletes', and this (http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA234658&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf), which claims 'Smoking is a detriment to physical readiness among relatively young, fit Navy personnel. Findings reported here suggest that smokers will have lower physical endurance than nonsmokers even after accounting for differences in the average exercise levels of smokers and nonsmokers.'

They also acknowledge that very little research has been done into these areas, so these studies are not backed up by hundreds of others (as is the case for other tobacco-related health claims). If we accept them as true, however, it seems clear that even young rikishi who smoke are harming their potential performance significantly.

Edited by kotoeikoku

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I am a smoker myself, who totally accepts current policies of banning smoking in public places. I understand the facts that smoking is harmful. At the same time, I smoke privately, and take issues of not offending non-smokers to a great length.

Harumafuji being smoker does not bother me a bit. But Harumafuji smoking publicly, showing up with two packs in his hand bothers me. Similarly, rikishi boasting about their drunken night bothers me too.

Are these saying to youngsters that yeah, rikishi life is such that you smoke and drink a lot. Or, to their parents: yep, send your son to us, we will make them happy this way?

Actually in my personal experience I think the parents could care less about the smoking... I'm a teacher and even years ago in public junior high kids got caught smoking all the time and when the teachers called the parents the parents replied "we let him/her smoke at home, we smoke.." Teachers were furious!!

High school kids parents get called all the time, the kids get suspended for smoking but the parents say "well he smokes at home but we told him not to smoke at school..." I have no idea what parents are thinking...

Or when I'm teaching elementary school and sometimes the kids clothes smell so heavy of cigarettes I feel I want to vomit if they are sitting close to me.

Feel sorry for the kids...

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