Arsene Wenger has good reason to be angry with Jack Wilshere’s cheeky fag. If the player were to make a habit of it, his manager knows it will have a severe impact on his fitness.
Smoking’s detrimental effect on lung capacity and circulation are the key factors.
As a young man in his early 20s, Wilshere probably wouldn’t notice any adverse effects to his breathing while resting, even if he were a regular smoker.
But he’d certainly notice it during training, not to mention in a match. A sprint down the touchline would leave him more out of breath than before.
Any air he was taking in wouldn’t be doing much good either. To achieve peak performance the muscles need to be fuelled by oxygen-rich blood. Smoking narrows the blood vessels, and also reduces the amount of oxygen the blood can deliver to the muscles – this causes greater build-up of lactic acid: the culprit in muscle burn and a major cause of fatigue.
It’s this circulation factor that leaves smokers having much less energy. Cigarettes also play havoc with the immune system – leaving a player much more vulnerable to a bout of winter flu just before the busy Christmas fixture list.