Effects of treatment on cardiovascular risk among smokeless tobacco users

Sharon S Allen, Dorothy K Hatsukami, Joni Jensen, Mike Grillo, Robin Bliss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background. Studies show sustained levels of nicotine among young males using smokeless tobacco, causing concern for subsequent cardiovascular risk. Also, there is little information on effects of nicotine replacement on cardiovascular risk in cessation programs. This study investigates the effects of nicotine gum replacement in smokeless tobacco cessation on cardiovascular risk factors. Methods. Smokeless tobacco users, ages 18-65, were randomly assigned in a double-blind fashion to 2-mg nicotine or placebo gum. At baseline, Week 4, and Week 8, dependent measurements, heart rate, blood pressure, and weight were recorded, and fasting lipoprotein profiles were drawn. Results. This paper focuses on the smokeless tobacco users who refrained from use during the study period (N = 56). The nicotine gum group weighed less (P = 0.033) than the placebo group throughout the study and weight increased at a significant rate between Weeks 4 and 8 for both groups as gum decreased. Triglycerides were higher for the nicotine gum group than the placebo group (P = 0.031), with triglycerides decreasing between Weeks 4 and 8, with a similar effect seen among nonabstinent smokeless tobacco users. There was no dose, time, or dose by time effect for the other dependent measures. Conclusions. Among smokeless tobacco users who were abstinent, weight increased, with subjects on nicotine gum weighing less throughout the study. The lipoprotein profile, heart rate, and blood pressure did not improve over time, contrary to smokers in whom HDL increases and heart rate decreases with cessation. This could relate to different routes of administration, pharmacokinetics, or by-products of tobacco smoking being absent in smokeless tobacco. In addition, nicotine gum appeared to have neither an adverse nor a positive effect on heart rate, blood pressure, LDL, HDL, or total cholesterol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-362
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1995


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