Smoking linked with higher risk of type 2 diabetes
Among men, the smoking-associated risk of developing type 2 diabetes was higher among people who were overweight.
Compared with people who never smoked, smoking 30 cigarettes or more per day was associated with a 30% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes among men with a normal weight but with a 60% higher risk among men who were obese.
Smokers, on average, tended to be thinner than non-smokers, believed to be due to appetite suppression and an elevated resting metabolic rate associated with smoking. However, heavy smokers were more likely to have more fat than light or non-smokers, greatly increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Study author, Professor Zhengming Chen, from the University of Oxford, UK, said: “The excess smoking-associated risk of diabetes among men in China is likely to increase substantially in future generations because the tobacco epidemic is maturing, but also because levels of overweight and obesity continue to rise among adults in China.”
Previous studies have suggested that giving up smoking may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, at least in the short term. By carefully analysing information on the reasons why people stopped smoking, the study demonstrated that this excess risk of diabetes among recent quitters was only seen in those who had stopped smoking because of illness, and not those who chose to stop smoking for other reasons. Among individuals who had chosen to give up smoking and had stopped for more than 5 years, there was a small excess risk of diabetes, but this could be explained by moderate weight gain following smoking cessation.
Study co-author, Dr Fiona Bragg, from the University of Oxford, UK, said: “These findings add to existing evidence of the health benefits of giving up smoking, not only for prevention of cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, but now also for prevention of type 2 diabetes.”
Although smoking is much less common among women in China, the risks of developing type 2 diabetes linked to smoking appeared to be greater among women than men for a given amount smoked. Researchers believed this may be explained in part by their greater proportion of body fat compared with men.
Study author, Professor Liming Li, Peking University, China, said: “We can’t conclude from these findings that smoking causes type 2 diabetes, but, irrespective of this, smoking should be targeted as an important modifiable lifestyle factor in future disease prevention strategies, including for diabetes, in China and elsewhere.”
Read the report in The Lancet
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