Studies Find That Smokeless Tobacco Product Tied to Higher Risk of Prostate Cancer Death

According to a new study, a smokeless tobacco called snus may increase a prostate cancer patient’s risk of death.

Many people believe that smokeless tobacco is a less harmful alternative to smoking just because it lacks the combustion products of smoking that are most associated with cancer risks. Researchers have found that men with prostate cancer who were smokeless tobacco users were at risk of premature death.

Snus is readily available in the United States. Usually sold in tea bag-like sachets, the powdered tobacco product is placed under the upper lip for extended periods.

Researchers analyzed health check-up data from thousands of men. The investigators found that, compared with men who never used tobacco, those who used snus but did not smoke, had a 24 percent higher risk of death from prostate cancer during the study period. They also had a 19 percent higher risk of death from any cause.

Among patients whose cancer had not spread, those who used snus but did not smoke, were three times more likely to die from prostate cancer than those who never used tobacco, the study found.

The study was published in the International Journal of Cancer.

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