New research from The Department of Environmental Medicine at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet demonstrates that users of Swedish smokeless tobacco called 'snus' run a higher risk of dying from cardiac arrest and stroke.

Although the study did not show an increased risk of snus use and [incidence of] myocardial infarction, it did show a 30 per cent increased risk of fatal heart attack compared with people who have never used the product. Amongst those who suffer non-fatal heart attacks, users of snus have a higher fatality rate in general than non-users, and from cardiovascular diseases in particular.

Users also ran a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, which is a known factor of cardiovascular disease and they were also more likely to suffer a fatal stroke.

Two major population studies were used for the research. The first comprised Swedish men between the ages of 45 and 70, living in the counties of Stockholm or Västernorrland between 1992 and 1994. A total of 1,432 men diagnosed with first-episode myocardial infarction were compared in terms of tobacco habits and other factors with a control group of men from the same regions without heart problems.

The second was a study using data from health checks of all workers in the building industry between the years of 1978 and 1993. Information recorded at these checks included tobacco habits and blood pressure. Episodes of non-fatal and fatal myocardial infarction, strokes and blood pressure readings for over 100,000 snus users and non-users were followed until 2003/4.

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