European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 118, Issue 4, pp 681–689 | Cite as

Effect of nicotine on repeated bouts of anaerobic exercise in nicotine naïve individuals

  • Robert Johnston
  • Melissa Crowe
  • Kenji Doma
Original Article



Nicotine is a psychostimulant that is reported to be commonly supplemented by athletes. The purpose of the current study was to determine the effects of a rapidly absorbed form of nicotine on repeated bouts of anaerobic exercise, perception of exertion and a range of cardiovascular variables while monitoring side effect profiles.


Sixteen healthy, nicotine naïve male athletes (24.1 ± 5.3 years, 179.0 ± 8.8 cm, 81.7 ± 13.5 kg, BMI 25.5 ± 3.0, Body fat% 13.2 ± 5.1%) completed two repeated 30 s Wingate tests with 3 min rest between bouts following consumption of either a 5-mg oral-dispersible nicotine strip (NIC) or a flavour-matched placebo (PLA) in a randomised, double-blind, cross-over design. Before the Wingate test, resting heart rate and blood pressure were also measured prior to and following PLA and NIC ingestion.


Peak and average power output were significantly greater following NIC administration compared to PLA (P < 0.01). Similarly, significant increases were also seen in heart rate and blood pressure following NIC administration compared to PLA (P < 0.01). No significant effect on pre-exercise side effect score, reaction time, rate of perceived exertion or post exercise blood lactate levels were observed (P > 0.05).


It was concluded that oral-dispersible nicotine strips increase repeated anaerobic performance, possibly through strong sympathetic stimulation, as evident by significant elevation of cardiovascular parameters.


Nicotine Supplement Ergogenic aid Sports doping Anaerobic exercise 



Analysis of variance


Body mass index


Diastolic blood pressure


Heart rate


Intra-class correlation coefficient






Repeatability session


Rating of perceived exertion


Systolic blood pressure


Saturated oxygen percentage


Serum-separating tube


World Anti-Doping Agency


Author contributions

RJ and MC conceived the research and all authors designed the research. RJ and KD conducted the experiments. RJ, MC and KD analysed the data. RJ wrote the manuscript. All authors read, edited and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all the authors, the corresponding author states there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional Human Research Ethics Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Medicine and DentistryJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.College of Healthcare SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Discipline of Sport and Exercise ScienceJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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