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If You Snus, You Lose: Study Shows Benefits of Quitting Smokeless Tobacco — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
June 24, 2014

If You Snus, You Lose: Study Shows Benefits of Quitting Smokeless Tobacco

By Larry Husten

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and André Sofair, MD, MPH

Quitting smokeless tobacco after myocardial infarction appears to be about as beneficial as quitting smoking, a Circulation study finds.

Investigators analyzed the risk for death in Swedish MI patients, 675 of whom quit using snus (the Swedish form of oral snuff) after MI and 1799 of whom continued use. After roughly 2 years' follow-up, the mortality rate was reduced in half among those who quit relative to those who continued using snus (9.7 vs. 18.7 per 1000 person-years). After adjustment for other risk factors, the hazard ratio for quitters was 0.57, similar to the 0.54 hazard ratio seen in a separate analysis among those who quit smoking after MI compared with those who continued to smoke.

"We didn't expect to see such a strong association among those people who stopped using [smokeless tobacco]," said the study's lead author in an American Heart Assocation press release. “After a heart attack, no doubt smoking cessation reduces the risk of death approximately one third and is really a cornerstone of cardiac rehabilitation worldwide. For smokeless tobacco, we did not know."

Adapted from CardioExchange.

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