Tobacco and Diabetes: What you need to know

Tobacco use and exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke have been associated with diverse health complications. This is because when tobacco and its additives are burned they produce a complex mixture of chemicals. Tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of harmful chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer.

But What Is The Linkage With Diabetes?

A study on Tobacco use, insulin resistance and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, determined a close association of tobacco use with insulin resistance and incident diabetes. The study further alludes that smoking is a direct cause of type 2 diabetes and that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with the cumulative number of cigarettes smoked.

In a multi prevalence comparison study, a report published in the Journal of Diabetes confirmed diabetes diagnoses to be more prevalent among confirmed smokers than non-smokers. The quantity and duration of smoking also revealed a significant effect on the prevalence of diabetes.

How Smoking Can Lead to Type 2 Diabetes

According to the Center for Disease Control:

  • Insulin helps blood sugar enter cells, but nicotine changes cells so they don’t respond to insulin, which increases blood sugar levels.
  • Chemicals in cigarettes harm cells in your body and cause inflammation. This also makes cells stop responding to insulin.
  • People who smoke have a higher risk of belly fat, which increases the risk for type 2 diabetes even if they aren’t overweight.

All in all, if you smoke, you’re 30% to 40% more likely to get type 2 diabetes than people who don’t smoke. The more you smoke, the higher your risk.