Few studies in the United States have examined longitudinally the mortality risks associated with use of smokeless tobacco (SLT). The sample of this study was composed of participants from the National Longitudinal Mortality Study who completed a single Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey between the years 1985 and 2011. Using survival methods, SLT use at the baseline survey was examined as a predictor of all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortalities in models that excluded individuals who had ever smoked cigarettes, cigars, or used pipes (final n=349,282). The participants had median and maximum follow-up times of 8.8 and 26.3 years, respectively. Regression analyses indicated that compared to the never tobacco users, the current SLT users did not have elevated mortality risks from all cancers combined, the digestive system cancers and cerebrovascular disease. However, current SLT users had a higher mortality risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) (HR(95% C.I.)=1.24 (1.05, 1.46)) relative to never tobacco users. In a separate model, the elevated risk for CHD mortality corresponded to the use of moist snuff (HR(95% C.I.) =1.30 (1.03, 1.63)). The associations with CHD mortality could be attributed to long-term nicotine exposure, other SLT constituents (e.g., metals), or the confounding effects of CHD risk factors not accounted for in this study. The study's findings could contribute to the ongoing dialogue on tobacco harm reduction and the U.S. FDA's evaluation of Modified Risk Tobacco Product applications submitted by American SLT manufacturers. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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