Background: Snus is a moist smokeless tobacco product with high nicotine content. Its use has a short-term effect on the cardiovascular system, but the relationship between snus use and stroke is unclear.
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the associations between use of snus and incidence of and survival after stroke, both overall and according to subtypes.
Methods: Pooled analyses of eight Swedish prospective cohort studies were conducted, including 130 485 men who never smoked. We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of incidence and death after diagnosis using Cox proportional hazard regression models and case fatality and survival using logistic regression and Kaplan-Meier methods, respectively.
Results: No associations were observed between the use of snus and the risk of overall stroke (HR 1.04, 95% CI 0.92-1.17) or of any of the stroke subtypes. The odds ratio (OR) of 28-day case fatality was 1.42 (95% CI 0.99-2.04) amongst users of snus who had experienced a stroke, and the HR of death during the follow-up period was 1.32 (95% CI 1.08-1.61).
Conclusion: Use of snus was not associated with the risk of stroke. Hence, nicotine is unlikely to contribute importantly to the pathophysiology of stroke. However, case fatality was increased in snus users, compared with nonusers, but further studies are needed to determine any possible causal mechanisms.
Keywords: smokeless tobacco; snus; stroke.
© 2014 The Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine.