Risk of developing Type- 2 diabetes is significantly higher in active and passive smokers than people who have never smoked, says a new study.
Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, and National University of Singapore estimated that 11.7 percent of cases of type 2 diabetes in men and 2.4 percent in women (about 27.8 million cases in total worldwide) may be attributable to active smoking. They also found that risk decreases as time elapses after smokers quit.
"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," said co-author Frank Hu.
The study found that the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes was 21 percent, 34 percent and 57 percent for light, moderate, and heavy smokers, respectively, compared with never smokers.
First author An Pan said that despite the global efforts to combat the tobacco epidemic, cigarette use remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide, adding that 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.
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. The study appeared in the Journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology