The study, by researchers from Umeå University, showed that heavy snus users had higher blood pressure and high cholesterol, and were more likely to be obese than people who did not use the oral tobacco. Heavy users were defined as people using the substance at least four times a week.
But snus was still less unhealthy than smoking tobacco, one of the scientists behind the study told The Local.
The findings were based on a study of 16,500 people in Västerbotten county, northern Sweden.
Factors including the subjects’ education level, gender, age, level of physical activity and alcohol consumption were all taken into account. Yet even after allowances were made for these factors, the study showed that the snus users had a greater risk of so-called metabolic syndrome.
The research, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, noted that rapid shifts in lifestyle habits were occurring in northern Sweden. A substantial decrease in smoking, particularly among men, has been accompanied by increased use of snus, among both men and women.
But Margareta Norberg, one of the scientists behind the study, told The Local this did not mean that people should not use snus as a way of giving up smoking.
“That is not the conclusion that we have drawn, because cigarette smoking is even less healthy than using snus.”
But, she said, “we should not consider snusing as a healthy habit.”
“People should consider not using tobacco at all.”