Smokeless tobacco (snus) is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes: results from five pooled cohorts.

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Smoking and nicotine exposure increase insulin resistance and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Swedish smokeless tobacco (snus) is high in nicotine, and its use is prevalent in Scandinavian countries, but few studies have investigated snus use in relation to diabetes risk.


To explore the association between snus use and risk of type 2 diabetes using pooled data from five cohorts.


Analyses were based on prospective studies conducted between 1990 and 2013 including 54 531 never-smoking men and 2441 incident cases of type 2 diabetes identified through screening, self-reporting and hospital and prescription registries. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were assessed and adjusted for age, body mass index, educational level, alcohol consumption and physical activity.


Compared to never users, the HR of type 2 diabetes was 1.15 (95% CI: 1.00-1.32) in current users of snus. In individuals consuming 5-6 boxes per week, the HR was 1.42 (95% CI: 1.07-1.87); in those consuming ≥7 boxes per week, the HR was 1.68 (95% CI: 1.17-2.41). Each additional box of snus consumed per week yielded an HR of 1.08 (95% CI: 1.01-1.16).


Our findings indicate that high consumption of snus is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The risk was similar to that in smokers, implying that smokers will not reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by changing to snus use. The results also support the notion that nicotine increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

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