Can I Smoke in American Football Stadiums Around The World?

It may surprise you to know that around the world, there are plenty of American football leagues worth following; unless you read our piece, The Best International American Football Leagues, of course. In it, we explained how The Vaahteraliga and The Superserien were among the best, but plenty of other countries have thriving American football competitions.

The best league in the world is right here in the United States, with 17.5 million people tuning in each week to watch our teams play. Attendances in stadiums are always above 62,000, with the Dallas Cowboys averaging 93,500 fans this season. That’s better than most other sports – even the so-called best sports league in the world, the English soccer Premier League, only has one team (Manchester United) that averages above 62,000.

There are some restrictions in NFL stadiums that spectators have to adhere to, one of those being not smoking. 26 of the 30 stadiums fully prohibit smoking, which includes electric cigarettes or vapes, whilst three have designated smoking areas – they are Ford Field in Detroit, Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, and FedExField in Washington. There are no stadiums that allow you to smoke in your seat, and with US smoking rates at around 11.5%, that is an issue for some.

Even if you want to watch in one of the exciting foreign leagues, it could be a problem. We’ve picked four of Europe’s best American football leagues, and it seems that smoking is almost as much of a taboo across the Atlantic.

The Superserien, Sweden

Sweden’s American football league has been on the go since 1984, with the Stockholm Mean Machines currently the dominant force. They’ve won the title for two years in a row, but don’t expect to light up a cigar to celebrate their success. Sweden is mainly smoke-free, and in 2019, the smoking ban was extended to public places such as playgrounds, bus stops, and sports stadiums. It works; only 6% of the Swedish population smokes daily.

The Vaahteraliiga, Finland

Finland has a higher smoking rate – 23% of Finnish men regularly light up, but they will struggle to do so when watching the Seinäjoki Crocodiles, or indeed any of the top-flight teams on the roster. Smoking is heavily frowned upon by the government, which plans to eradicate it completely by 2030. The current ban extends to stadiums, although some do allow you to light up in designated areas, although it is not all that common.

The German Football League, Germany

Germany does have a relaxed attitude towards tobacco use, and many of their large stadiums allow smoking. New Yorker Lions, one of the teams that compete in the GFL North, allows smoking at the Eintracht-Stadion, which they share with soccer team Eintracht Braunschweig. Indeed, Germany has tighter regulations on smoke bombs in sports grounds than it does on smoking cigarettes, although you may find rules vary from stadium to stadium.

Irish American Football League, Ireland

Ireland and America have many ties, and whilst our football hasn’t caught on in neighboring England, there is a thriving league in Ireland. It’s a unique league, as it spans the Irish border, with both the Belfast Knights and Dublin Rebels competing in the same division. That means the league is subject to differing rules in terms of smoking bans, one for Ireland and the other for the United Kingdom. However, neither allows you to light up in your seats, and if you expect to smoke whilst watching Rebels or the Knights, you’re going to be disappointed.

The solution

As with the NFL, smokers wishing to watch a game need to find an alternative source of nicotine. If complete cessation is not an option, then you could take a leaf out of the Swedish book and look for a snus-type product. This can be achieved by using nicotine pouches, modeled on snus, which sits between the gum and lip to release nicotine into the system slowly. This will reduce cravings, and as the nicotine pouches available on Prilla demonstrate, they can come in different flavors as well, such as coffee or mint. They also come in different strengths to cover all levels of smokers. This will perhaps ease some of the stress of seeing your team make a bad play!

There’s also the nicotine patch route you could go down. Patches are like a band-aid that sticks to the skin, making them discreet. They also come in different strengths, ensuring even heavy smokers can get through a game. Brands such as Nicorette have been a staple of the smoking cessation landscape for a while, and they last long enough to get you through a game, even one as long as the Dolphins and Chiefs game back in 1971! Nicorette also does gum, which can be chewed for longer and might help to relieve some tension without reaching for a cigarette.


Whether in the United States, Finland, or Ireland, the outcome is the same – you have to stub out before you can see a touchdown. There are some stadiums that may allow you to smoke and watch a game, but they’re so few and far between that it’s barely worth hunting them out. Stick in a pouch, put on a patch, and head to watch whichever team you wish, whether it’s the Dallas Cowboys, Dresden Monarchs or Domzale Tigers.

Angus Reid is a retired professional football player who now travels North America speaking to companies, schools and teams on what it really takes to make it and win. He is also the author of Thank You Coach and some of his talks are available on