Lighting Up Might Up Your Diabetes Risk

Smoking tied to higher type 2 diabetes risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) It appears that smoking may put more than just your heart and lung health at risk.

It may also raise patients' risk of type 2 diabetes, a new study found. This raised risk was highest for heavy smokers, though even light smokers had an increased risk.

The authors of this study estimated that about 1 in 10 cases of type 2 diabetes in men could be attributed to smoking.

“Cigarette smoking should be considered as a key modifiable risk factor for diabetes,” said study author author Frank Hu, MD, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a press release.

For this study, these researchers looked at data from 88 past studies involving almost 6 million patients.

They compared the rates of type 2 diabetes among current smokers to those of nonsmokers.

They found that smokers were 37 percent more likely to have diabetes than nonsmokers. Former smokers had a 14 percent higher risk than nonsmokers.

Exposure to secondhand smoke may increase patients’ diabetes risk by 22 percent, Dr. Hu and team found.

Heavy smokers had a nearly three-fold higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than light smokers.

Quitting smoking may reduce type 2 diabetes risk drastically, especially after the patient has been tobacco-free for 10 years or more, Dr. Hu and colleagues said.

“Public health efforts to reduce smoking will have a substantial impact on the global burden of type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Hu said.

This study was published Sept. 18 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

The Chinese National Thousand Talents Program for Distinguished Young Scholars, the US National Institutes of Health, the Chinese National 111 Project and the Chinese Ministry of Education funded this research. Dr. Hu and team disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 17, 2015
Last Updated:
September 20, 2015