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According to an article recently published in The Lancet, Scandinavian moist snuff (snus) increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. However, it has not been confirmed that snus increases the risk of oral or lung cancer.

Snuff is classified as a carcinogen; however, its use is increasing in several different populations. The use of snus and its association with the risk of specific cancers is not well understood. In order to gain a better understanding of this association, researchers from Sweden recently conducted a study to evaluate the incidence of cancer of the oral cavity, lung, and pancreas among snus users.

This study included data from nearly 280,000 Swedish males who were asked about tobacco smoking or snus use between 1978 and1992. Approximately 126,000 of these males were never-smokers at the entry of the study, and the recorded data include men who never used tobacco. Healthcare records were followed until 2004.

  • The risk of developing pancreatic cancer was doubled among snus users.
  • The use of snus was unrelated to the risk of oral cancer or lung cancer.
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The researchers concluded that use of snus was related to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, but no increased risk of oral or lung cancers. The authors stated, “Use of Swedish snus should be added to the list of tentative risk factors for pancreatic cancer.”

Reference: Luo J, Ye W, Zendehdel K, et al. Oral use of Swedish moist snuff (snus) and risk for cancer of the mouth, lung, and pancreas in male construction workers: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet. 2007;369:2015-2020.