Two prospective studies published in the June issue of Cancer Causes and Control suggest current use of chewing tobacco or snuff increases mortality from heart disease and stroke.
The researchers analyzed baseline information from two Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS-I in 1959 and CPS-II in 1982) involving 192,216 men and follow-up data (1971 for CPS-I and 2000 for CPS-II) which included 31,459 deaths.
After making the appropriate adjustments for key variables, the investigators concluded that, compared with men who did not use tobacco, men currently using chewing tobacco or snuff had higher death rates from all causes in both studies.
In CPS-I, they found the use of chewing tobacco or snuff (collectively referred to as “spit tobacco”) was statistically significantly associated with death from coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and respiratory tract, digestive tract, and genitourinary diseases, but not with death from cancer.
In CPS-II, use of chewing tobacco or snuff was significantly associated with death from CHD, stroke, all cancers combined, lung cancer, and cirrhosis.
The researchers pointed out that the studies did not establish a true causal connection between spit tobacco and an increased risk of death from heart disease or stroke. The results may only reflect the existence of other factors such as the lower socioeconomic status of the men who use such products.