New Study Shows No Increased Cardiovascular Risk for Smokeless Tobacco Users
The risk of cardiovascular disease among users of smokeless tobacco products such as Swedish snus, snuff or chewing tobacco, is no higher compared to people who have never used tobacco, according to a new study led by researchers at UCLA. It is widely known that cigarette smoking is strongly associated with the development of cardiovascular disease. The latest study to examine whether smokeless tobacco may be a risk for cardiovascular disease was published in January 2022 in the Oxford Academic Journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. To carry out the study, the authors looked at data from 4347 adults who provided blood and urine samples in 2013-2014 as a part of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. Among this group, 338 were exclusive smokeless tobacco users, 3034 were exclusive cigarettes smokers, and 975 were never tobacco users.
No increased risk for cardiovascular disease
Despite exposure to nicotine at levels higher than those observed among smokers, the study found no elevated risk for cardiovascular disease among smokeless tobacco users compared with never tobacco users. These findings support the concept that increases in risk of cardiovascular disease among cigarette smokers is primarily caused by chemicals found in tobacco smoke other than nicotine.
The results are largely in line with previous research on the association of smokeless tobacco with the risk of smoking-related diseases, but the study is the first one to show that the use of smokeless tobacco does not increase cardiovascular disease-related biomarkers compared to never-smokers.
Lowering the risk for developing cardiovascular disease, these findings suggest smokers who switch to smokeless tobacco products are likely to experience health benefits – providing strong support for tobacco harm reduction.
Although the researchers suggest there are benefits to switching from cigarettes to smokeless tobacco, they emphasize that complete cessation all tobacco and nicotine products should remain the ultimate goal.