Some previous studies concluded that smokers have a higher risk of developing diabetes. But more recently, a study published found that cigarette smoke exposure increases the risk of type 2 diabetes as well.
The study was conducted by an international team of scientists and researchers from universities based in the US, Singapore and China. The paper was published in the medical journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, and it was presented as a systematic review of different types of smoking behaviors and diabetes.
The study revealed that non-smokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke had a 22% bigger risk of developing diabetes than people who had never smoked and were not exposed to secondhand smoke. The study gathered data from 6 million diabetes patients, meaning that the statistical analysis was large enough to pick out cause and effect associations. Thanks to the numerous individuals, researchers had taken into account various other risk factors such as diet, alcohol and physical activity. At the end, the team of researchers were left with 150,000 passive smokers to study.
Researchers have discovered that the risk for developing diabetes increased shoulder to shoulder with the smoking frequency and the amount of breaks for the passive smokers. A controlled trial could prove that there is a direct cause and effect association between the two, but it would be unethical to suggest people to do something that could harm them.
Researchers and doctors do not know for sure why smoking increases the risk of diabetes. The paper wrote that smoking could increase inflammation levels, causing cell damage. Another study found this week that cannabis smoking increases the risk of type 2 diabetes as well. So maybe there is something about the act of smoking that impacts the immune system. The group of researchers said that giving up smoking is the best step you can take towards improving your health and preventing diabetes.
According to a National Health Service report, passive smoking could also increase the risk of developing cancer and lung disease, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
“Cigarette smoking should be considered as a key modifiable risk factor for diabetes. Public health efforts to reduce smoking will have a substantial impact on the global burden of type 2 diabetes,” declared study lead author, Frank Hu.
Smoking is the biggest cause of death in the world, killing more than 6 million people each year and increasing the risk of developing diseases.
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