Smoking increases risk of type 2 diabetes by 37%

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In a study that the first to look into a causal relation between smoking and increased risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers have suggested that current smoking increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by 37 per cent.

Risk levels for former smokers stand at 14 per cent, while second hand smokers are also at an increased risk of 22 per cent. Those who have left smoking less than 5 years ago are also at risk and that stands at 54 per cent; however, as the number of years passed the risk fell to 18 per cent increased risk after 5 years and 11 per cent increased risk more than 10 years after quitting.

Smoking has long been associated as a major risk factor in a range of diseases including cancer, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular disease; however there have been rather very few studies that have established a causal relation between smoking and type 2 diabetes risk.

This is what researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, and National University of Singapore set out to explore through a meta-analysis of 88 previous studies on the association between smoking and type 2 diabetes risk, looking at health data from nearly 6 million study participants.

The findings were startling as smoking as a factor for increased risk of type 2 diabetes was irrefutable. Researchers found that among current smokers, the risk was as high as 57 per cent based on the amount of smoking. Those who smoked lightly were at 21 per cent increased risk while those who smoked moderately were at 34 per cent increased risk than those who didn’t smoke. The group at highest risk was heavy smokers at 57 per cent.

Despite global efforts to decrease usage of tobacco, it is still one of the most common reasons behind cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide, researchers say.

“This study underscores the importance of implementing and enforcing the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The smoke-free policies can provide protections for non-smokers and may lead to increased successful cessation in smokers”, said An Pan, the first author of the study and professor of epidemiology at School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China.

The authors also called for more research into the mechanisms underlying the short-term increased risk of diabetes in recent quitters in order to help develop interventions to improve smoking cessation and prevent diabetes.