Smoking can cause diabetes

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Around 7.5 million people in Germany are affected by diabetes[1]. In diabetes patients, the blood sugar level is permanently elevated, which is why diabetes is often referred to as "diabetes".

Diabetes: increased risk of complications
The body cells of people with diabetes respond less well to the hormone insulin. Insulin ensures that the sugar from the blood reaches the cells, which lowers the blood sugar level. Because this mechanism is disrupted in diabetes, more sugar remains in the blood. This has negative health effects, especially for the blood vessels in which sugar can be deposited. The secondary diseases of diabetes include cardiovascular diseases, eye and kidney damage and circulatory disorders, especially in the feet. With over 90 percent of the cases, the so-called type 2 diabetes occurs most frequently, which occurs in the course of life, mostly in old age. In recent years, however, an increasing number of younger people have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The risk factors for type 2 diabetes include genetic factors, obesity, lack of exercise, high blood lipid levels, high blood pressure and smoking. The much rarer type 1 diabetes usually already appears in childhood and adolescence.

Smoking increases the risk of type 2 diabetes ...
A number of studies have shown a connection between smoking and the development of type 2 diabetes as well as the side effects of diabetes. According to studies, smoking doubles the risk of type 2 diabetes[2]. Which pollutants in tobacco smoke are responsible for the increased risk of disease and which biological processes they trigger has not yet been adequately clarified. It is possible that the production of insulin in the pancreas is so permanently disrupted or impaired by the components of tobacco smoke that diabetes develops as a result. There is also evidence from studies[3]that secondhand smoke can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

and complicates the secondary diseases
Smoking also increases the risk of the above-mentioned complications of diabetes. The substances in cigarette smoke also attack the blood vessels and contribute to the development of arteriosclerosis, a disease in which the vessels increasingly calcify and harden. This in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases (including heart attacks) - diseases from which diabetes patients are already more affected.

Quitting smoking lowers the risk of diabetes
Smoking is principally harmful to health. This is all the more true for people with previous illnesses such as diabetes. Conversely, quitting smoking reduces the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes and the risk of concomitant and secondary diseases. A study from Sweden[4] came to the conclusion that people who suffer from type 2 diabetes have a similarly high risk of cardiovascular disease and a comparable life expectancy through an appropriate lifestyle and handling of the disease. To do this, they had to get a total of 5 risk factors under control: the increased blood sugar, blood lipid and blood pressure values, their kidney values ​​and smoking. So if people did not smoke and kept the other values ​​(usually with the help of medication) in a normal range, their risk of illness decreased significantly.

It is worth stopping smoking. We support you in this.


[2]Tenenbaum A, Fisman EZ, Adler Y et al. (2005) Smoking and development of type 2 diabetes in patients with decreased functional capacity. Int. J. Cardiol., 104, 275-281

[3]Endocrine Society (2012, June 25). Secondhand smoke is linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 4, 2012, from

[4]N Engl J Med 2018; 379: 633-644; DOI: 10.1056 / NEJMoa1800256