Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Smoking Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

Smokers May Be More Likely Than Nonsmokers to Develop Type 2 Diabetes
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 11, 2007 -- Smokers may be more likely than nonsmokers to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a new research review.

The review included 25 studies of smoking and diabetes among a million people ages 16 and older in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Japan, and Israel.

None of those people had type 2 diabetes when the studies started. But more than 45,000 participants developed type 2 diabetes during the studies, which lasted for five to 30 years.

The reviewers analyzed all the data and concluded that the chance of developing type 2 diabetes was 44% higher for smokers than for nonsmokers.

Heavy smokers -- people who smoke at least 20 cigarettes per day -- were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who smoke fewer cigarettes or ex-smokers.

The pattern varied somewhat in its intensity but held for all but one of the reviewed studies. Still, the studies don't prove that smoking causes type 2 diabetes.

The reviewers considered some diabetes risk factors, including the fact that type 2 diabetes becomes more common with age.

But the review doesn't show whether exercise, social class, or education affected the results.

The reviewers -- who included Carole WIlli, MD, of Switzerland's University of Lausanne -- report their findings in tomorrow's edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The review may be a "conservative underestimate of the true association between smoking and type 2 diabetes," states an editorial published with the study.

Eric Ding, ScD, and Frank Hu, MD, PhD, wrote the editorial. They work at Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, and Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.

 

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article