3 Facts that Link Smoking and Diabetes

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Smoking does not only increase your chances of developing of lung cancer and heart disease. It could also increase your risk of developing diabetes.

Diabetes refers to a group of diseases in which the blood sugar levels are higher than the normal. There are two types of diabetes – type I and type II. The most common is the type 2 diabetes, affecting millions of people around the world. A person who has diabetes either has high insulin levels or could not utilize insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which helps glucose get in to the body’s cells. In the case of diabetes, too little insulin is absorbed by the cells and instead builds up in the blood.

So how does diabetes relate with smoking?


According to a 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, smoking increases the risk of diabetes. And no matter how many times you smoke a day (whether once or multiple times), or what kind of tobacco you use, you are exposing yourself to this lifelong disease, even if it is something that is not hardwired in your genes.

Smoking (as well as the use of snuff – finely ground tobacco that can be dry, moist, or in a tea bag-like pouch) raises your risk of diabetes in different ways. First off, it could interfere with how insulin works. Specifically, smoking could cause insulin resistance.

If you have diabetes and you smoke, you dramatically increase your risk of developing serious health problems, such as heart and kidney disease, poor blood flow, retinopathy (an eye disease that often leads to blindness), and peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves which usually occur in the arms and legs, causing pain, numbness, tingling sensation, and loss of coordination).

Quitting Tips for Diabetic Patients

Not smoking can reduce your risk of developing diabetes. If you smoke, stopping now will save you from potential health complications. There are plenty of quit smoking methods that can ease the cessation process and alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. However, you must first ask your doctor whether such methods are suitable for your condition. If you’re taking medications to manage diabetes for instance, you should check whether taking quit smoking drugs may interfere with it.

Along with the treatment, you may also want to create positive changes in your lifestyle. Regular physical exercises do not only help you quit smoking easily but also help improve your condition. Numerous studies have shown that exercise is an effective way to manage diabetes and delay its progression. Eating healthy foods also help. Research shows that fruits and vegetables make the taste of cigarette less pleasurable. At the same time, the antioxidants in them help flush away the toxins from tobacco, and speed up the repair of cells and tissues affected by smoking.


Can you give more tips to quit smoking and reduce the risk of diabetes? Feel free to post a comment below.



Previous post:

Next post:

Click here to subscribe to my mailing list