What You Should Know about the Effects of Smoking and Diabetes

Smoking and Diabetes Type 2 Mellitus

Smoking and diabetes are 2 dangerous combination that usually result in severe health risks especially for the diabetes type 2 mellitus sufferers.

Diabetes is a disease with uncontrolled blood sugar levels. The insulin in the body is not regulated well by the pancreas and this result in the build up of glucose in the blood.

There is an increased risk of secondary complications like heart disease, peripheral neuropathy, foot pain, just to mention a few, in type 2 diabetes sufferers. These diabetes type 2 complications can usually be prevented by proper management and a healthier lifestyle.  Cigarette smoking can exacerbate diabetes complications, especially in a poorly controlled diabetes.



How Smoking affects diabetes

Studies have revealed that smoking is a contributory factor in the diagnosis of pre-diabetics, as well those those who may be at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. 

Smoking has been shown to increase inflammation in the body. This Inflammation occurs when chemicals released in cigarette smoke damage cells, resulting in swelling and the attack of the regular cell function.
In addition to inflammation, the chemicals released in smoking can combine with oxygen in the body to cause oxidative stress, resulting in cell damage.

Unlike smokers, non-smokers have a lower chance (up to 40 percent) of developing Type 2 diabetes mellitus. 

Smoking cigarette increases the likelihood of the body developing resistance to insulin, making the management of diabetes a challenge.

Diabetics are already prone to developing a variety of health issues from the medical condition. Diabetics who smoke cigarette greatly increase their chance of  serious complications which could be life-threatening:

  • Damage to cells and tissues and increased inflammation
  • Kidney and heart diseases
  • Fertility problems or birth defect risks during pregnancy
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Chronic bronchitis
  • Retinopathy (eye disease which can lead to blindness)
  • Hindrance to blood flow in legs and feet leading to serious consequences like ulcers, infections or amputation.
  • Damage to nerves leading to regular pain, weakness, lack of coordination or numbness (Peripheral Neuropathy).

Diabetics who quit this form of nicotine addiction have a better blood glucose level control and a greater chance of avoiding the complications associated with diabetes.

The combination of diabetes and smoking have been shown to have a detrimental effect on the cells and organs of the body. Both diabetes and smoking are already linked to many common diseases .

The blood circulation eventually becomes restricted due to the narrowing of the blood vessel, which in turn makes the heart to beat faster, causing a hike in blood pressure. This eventually leads to a greater risk of developing conditions like heart disease, peripheral neuropathy, foot pain, erectile dysfunction, just to mention a few.


Lower the risk of smoking and diabetes

 The best way to reduce the risk associated with smoking in a diabetic is to quit smoking . The diabetic smoker can begin by cutting down the number of cigarettes over a time period gradually or just completely replacing smoking cigarettes with one of the smoking cessation aids. 

  • Exercising is essential and it reduces the chances of obesity
  • Regular medicine schedule given by the doctor must be followed
  • Healthy eating habits lowers the chances of getting cardiovascular diseases and weight gain


There are many different options to help in quitting smoking. As a type 2 diabetes patient, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare giver before starting a quit smoking treatment. 

6 Approaches to Treating Nicotine addiction :

  •  NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy)
  • Psychotherapy for emotional balancing
  • Manage cravings and stress with meditation & deep breathing techniques
  • Spending time in the places where smoking is prohibited
  • Exercising and adopting healthier options
  • Ask support from your family and friends. Be good to yourself.

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