CHICAGO, Sept. 14 (UPI) — Smokeless tobacco — snuff and chewing tobacco — is not a safer alternative to smoking and should not be used to quit smoking, U.S. researchers say.
Mariann Piano, lead writer of the smokeless tobacco policy statement of the American Heart Association, says smokeless tobacco should not be used as an alternative to cigarettes or for smoking cessation.
“No tobacco product is safe to consume,” Mariann Piano, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says in a statement. “Smokeless tobacco products are harmful and addictive – that does not translate to a better alternative.”
The idea that smokeless tobacco products may be a better alternative to cigarettes is based in part on the Swedish study that found men decreased smoking from 1976 to 2002, which corresponded to an increase in the use of smokeless tobacco.
However, a recent U.S. study found no reduction in smoking rates among people using smokeless tobacco products. Nicotine gum or a nicotine-releasing patch placed on the skin are safer alternatives compared to using smokeless tobacco products, Piano says.
Long-term use of smokeless tobacco products increases the risk of heart attack or fatal stroke, several studies have found, Piano said.
The study is published online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
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