Snus use and cardiovascular risk factors in the general population: the HUNT3 study

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Background and aimsSnus, a form of smokeless tobacco, is increasingly popular in its traditional Nordic markets, and was recently launched commercially in the United States. We examined the cross-sectional associations between snus use and cardiovascular risk factors, and compared them with the corresponding associations of smoking.DesignCross-sectional study.SettingThe HUNT3 general population survey, Nord-Trφndelag, Norway (2006–08).ParticipantsA general population sample of n = 25 163.MeasurementsMeasured triglyceride,- glucose- and high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol levels, blood pressure and waist circumference, registry information on gender, age and education level, self-reported snus use, smoking, physical exercise and alcohol use.FindingsIn age- and gender-adjusted linear regression analyses, extensive snus use was associated with larger waist circumference (b = 1.65, 95% CI = 0.86, 2.43) and higher systolic blood pressure (b = 2.58, 95% CI = 1.48, 3.68), but with higher rather than lower levels of HDL-cholesterol (b = 1.66, 95% CI = 0.79, 2.53). These three differences remained significant after additional adjustment for smoking, education level, physical exercise and alcohol use. Smokers had higher triglyceride and lower HDL-cholesterol than snus users, but lower systolic blood pressure.ConclusionsAfter adjusting statistically for major confounding variables, Norwegians who use snus extensively have a mixed profile in terms of cardiovascular risk: slightly higher waist circumference and systolic blood pressure but also higher high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol.

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