Drawing on a study of patients who have survived their first heart attack, Swedish researchers found that snus users who stopped using the tobacco product had a 50 percent lower risk of dying within a two years of the heart attack compared to those who continued.
Of the patients who participated in the study, 1,799 continued to use snus after having a heart attack, while 675 quit.
During the approximately two years that the group was tracked by the researchers, 69 patients who continued using snus died, compared to 14 fatalities among the patients who quit.
While previous research has established that quitting smoking following a heart attack has beneficial effects on cardiac health, the potential effects of stopping the use of snus after a heart attack has never been examined previously.
“However, snus’s known blood pressure and pulse-raising effects indicate that continued snus use can bring about unwanted extra stress on the heart following a heart attack,” Gabriel Arefalk, a doctoral student at Uppsala Universtity, told the Upsala Nya Tidning (UNT) newspaper.
He said that the lower mortality rates among those who stopped using snus may be due to the fact that they were more likely to participate in rehabilitation programmes and start exercising than those who continued with the habit.
According to Arefalk, more research is needed to ascertain with greater certainty what effects snus has on cardiac health.
“Therefore, it’s too early to officially recommend that people stop using snus after a heart attack,” he told the newspaper.