No increased risk of heart attacks among snus/snuff users, unlike smokers

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A collaborative study involving Sunderby Hospital, Luleå, and Umeå University in Sweden confirms that men who smoke run a substantial risk of developing diabetes. On the other hand, no parameters indicate that using snus (moist snuff) increases this risk.

The study, carried out under the leadership of Associate Professor Mats Eliasson, Luleå, is published in the July issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine under the tile of “Influence of smoking and snus on the prevalence and incidence of type 2 diabetes amongst men: the northern Sweden MONICA Study.” Co-authors of the article are Kjell Asplund, Brad Rodu, and Salmir Nasic.

In Sweden some 250,000 people suffer from type 2 diabetes, so-called age-related diabetes. The causes are most often a combination of heredity, obesity, and physical inactivity. Recent research has also singled out psychosocial stress and smoking as underlying factors. Since snus users are exposed to at least as much nicotine as smokers and using snus is extremely common in northern Sweden, the research team has investigated whether using snus increases the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.

Within the framework of the MONICA study in northern Sweden, 3,384 men between the ages of 25 and 74 were studied. Just over half were re-examined after 9 years. The occurrence of diabetes was almost doubled among smokers but did not increase among snus users. In the follow-up smokers evinced a quadrupled risk of developing diabetes and ex-smokers a tripled risk. Among snus users no one developed diabetes. The differences in risk could not be explained by physical activity, alcohol consumption, or various degrees of abdominal fat.

The study supports earlier studies from the MONICA group that did not indicate any increased risk of heart attacks among snus users, unlike smokers, whose risk did increase.

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