Combined Associations of Changes in Noncombustible Nicotine or Tobacco Product and Combustible Cigarette Use Habits With Subsequent Short-Term Cardiovascular Disease Risk Among South Korean Men: A Nationwide Cohort Study

Circulation. 2021 Nov 9;144(19):1528-1538. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.054967. Epub 2021 Oct 4.


Background: The associations of changes in noncombustible nicotine or tobacco product (NNTP) and combustible cigarette (CC) use habits with subsequent cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk are still unclear.

Methods: The study population consisted of 5 159 538 adult men who underwent health screening examinations during both the first (2014-2015) and second (2018) health screening periods from the Korean National Health Insurance Service database. All participants were divided into continual CC-only smokers, CC and NNTP users, recent (<5 years) CC quitters without NNTP use, recent CC quitters with NNTP use, long-term (≥5 years) CC quitters without NNTP use, long-term CC quitters with NNTP use, and never smokers. Propensity score matching analysis was conducted to further compare CVD risk among CC quitters according to NNTP use. Starting from the second health screening date, participants were followed up until the date of CVD event, death, or December 31, 2019, whichever came earliest. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression was used to determine the adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) and 95% CIs for CVD risk according to changes in NNTP and CC smoking habits.

Results: Compared with continual CC-only smokers, CC and NNTP users (aHR, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.79-0.88]) and initial CC smokers who quit CCs and switched to NNTP use only (recent CC quitters with NNTP use, aHR, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.78-0.84]) had lower risk for CVD. After propensity score matching, recent CC quitters with NNTP use (aHR, 1.31 [95% CI, 1.01-1.70]) had higher risk for CVD than recent CC quitters without NNTP use. Similarly, compared with long-term CC quitters without NNTP use, long-term CC quitters with NNTP use (aHR, 1.70 [95% CI, 1.07-2.72]) had higher CVD risk.

Conclusions: Switching to NNTP use among initial CC smokers was associated with lower CVD risk than continued CC smoking. On CC cessation, NNTP use was associated with higher CVD risk than CC quitting without NNTPs. Compared with CC smokers who quit without NNTP use, CC quitters who use NNTPs may be at higher future CVD risk.

Keywords: cigarettes; electronic nicotine delivery systems; heart disease risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotiana / adverse effects*
  • Nicotine / adverse effects*
  • Republic of Korea
  • Risk Factors
  • Tobacco Use / adverse effects*


  • Nicotine