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Open Access Review

Epidemiological evidence relating snus to health – an updated review based on recent publications

Peter N Lee

Author Affiliations

P N Lee Statistics and Computing Ltd, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5DA, United Kingdom

Harm Reduction Journal 2013, 10:36  doi:10.1186/1477-7517-10-36

Published: 6 December 2013

Abstract

An earlier review summarized evidence relating use of snus (Swedish-type moist snuff) to health and to initiation and cessation of smoking. This update considers the effect recent publications on snus use and health have on the overall evidence. The additional evidence extends the list of neoplastic conditions unassociated with snus use (oropharynx, oesophagus, stomach, lung) to include colorectal cancer and acoustic neuroma, and further undermines the weakly-based argument that snus use increases the risk of pancreatic cancer, although there is a report of poorer cancer survival in users. It remains undemonstrated that “snuff-dipper’s lesion” increases risk of oral cancer, and recent publications add to the evidence that snus use has no effect on periodontitis or dental caries. Although onset of acute myocardial infarction is not adversely associated with snus use, there is some evidence of an association with reduced survival. Whether this is a direct effect of snus use or a result of confounding by socioeconomic status or other factors requires further investigation, as does a report of an increased risk of heart failure in snus users. Even if some adverse health effects of snus use do exist, it remains clear that they are far less than those of smoking.

Keywords:
Cancer; Oral disease; Circulatory disease; Tobacco; Smokeless