Smokeless Tobacco Linked to Cardiovascular Risks

Meta-analysis shows small but significantly increased risks for fatal heart attacks and strokes

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Users of smokeless tobacco may have an increased risk of fatal myocardial infarction and stroke, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in BMJ.

Paolo Boffetta, M.D., of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 11 studies conducted in the United States and Sweden.

The researchers found that smokeless tobacco use versus non-use was associated with increased risks of fatal myocardial infarction and stroke (relative risks, 1.13 and 1.40, respectively). They also found that smokeless tobacco use was associated with lower summary risk estimates for non-fatal myocardial infarction and stroke.

"Although the magnitude of the excess risk, particularly for fatal myocardial infarction, was small, the consistency of the results among studies and their robustness for study design and quality added to their credibility," the authors write. "The meta-analyses including the results on non-fatal cardiovascular diseases, however, showed heterogeneity between studies, which limits their interpretation."

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