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smoking, smoking cessation, diabetes

Smoking and Diabetes: The Real Truth

Does smoking cause diabetes? Studies have shown that yes, smoking does have a direct causal relationship with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, if you already have diabetes, smoking has a much greater chance of worsening your health.

Smoking and diabetes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that smokers have a 30 to 40 percent greater risk of developing diabetes than nonsmokers. Smoking contributes to diabetes by causing inflammation and oxidative stress that damages cells. Smoking also contributes to excess belly fat, which increases cortisol, a stress hormone that raises blood sugar.

When you smoke, insulin becomes less effective in your body, and thus it becomes difficult to control blood sugar levels. 

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Other health risks of smoking and diabetes

Smoking risks associated with diabetes also include problems with your immune system, changes in lipid profiles, high risk of respiratory problems such as COPD and emphysema, high infection risk, and a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. Smoking also puts you at high risk for blood pressure and oral health problems. 

While these side effects are bad enough, there is also a host of chronic conditions that you are more likely to suffer from with smoking and diabetes, such as:

What you can do

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, such as:

  • Eat healthfully
  • Avoid too much alcohol or caffeine
  • Get regular exercise
  • Follow your doctor’s treatment plan
  • Join a virtual or local community for support, such as BecomeAnEX
  • Talk with a doctor about nicotine replacement therapy or oral medications to help you quit 
  • Try counseling, hypnosis, or acupuncture
  • Write down a list of reasons why you want to quit
  • Set an actual quit date in the near future
  • Ask your friends and family to keep you accountable
  • Avoid habits or vices that previously encouraged you to smoke
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The FDA’s plans to deter people from smoking

The FDA has put some proposals in place to reduce smoking, such as reducing the amount of nicotine in cigarettes, and a new proposal to place graphic warning labels on packs of cigarettes. Graphic warnings have been successful in other countries in lowering smoking rates. 

Until these proposals are enacted, make a plan to quit and work with your doctor and loved ones to ensure success.