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February 19, 1982

Snuff gives heart rate, blood pressure a kick

JAMA. 1982;247(7):947. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320320005002

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There was no obvious cause for the elevated blood pressure (BP) of the football player at Texas Lutheran College, Seguin. But one fact fascinated William G. Squires, PhD, associate professor of physical education and biology. Since seventh grade, the young man had used oral tobacco. Could that be a factor?

Also known as snuff (because once it primarily was sniffed through the nose) or chewing leaf, smokeless oral tobacco (so called because it now is often placed between the lip and gum for absorption through the oral mucosa) may be used by at least one in every 12 to 15 Americans. United States sales are said to be up by more than 25% since 1976, especially at colleges.

Squires and colleagues from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston (where he has an adjunct appointment) decided to study 20 male athlete volunteers. Ten were oral tobacco users; ten were not.

All volunteers