Risk of Cigarette Smoking For Diabetes
Metabolic Health
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Cigarette Smoking: A Risk Factor For Diabetes

Lately, smoking has become extremely commonplace. Whether it is young adults, or older people, wherever you go you can find a cigarette in their hands. Smoking has a lot of adverse effects on one’s health. Apart from all the lung damage, it plays a major role in causing numerous other health problems like diabetes, obesity, liver problems etc.

Diabetes and smoking are closely related. If you are a smoker, the chances of you getting type 2 diabetes are very high. As compared to non-smokers, smokers have a 30%-40% higher chance of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes and smoking make it very hard to control blood sugar and can make other health conditions go from bad to worse. 

People that have diabetes need to increase their insulin intake if they are constantly smoking. Diabetes and smoking also tends to speed up damage to other internal organs as both of those cause damage to blood vessels. The nicotine in cigarettes is especially harmful for people already living with diabetes and increases the risk of developing diabetes in people who are at risk. 

Does Smoking Affect The Risk Of Diabetes?

Smoking significantly increases the risk of diabetes among people that might already be prone to it. Diabetes and smoking should never be paired as the chemical nicotine which is an active ingredient in cigarettes causes irreparable damage to the body and raises blood sugar as well. 

  • Diabetes and smoking together cause insulin resistance in the body. Nicotine impairs your cells' ability to react to insulin. This is the hormone that assists your body in using the sugar in your blood. This will cause your blood sugar levels to rise. 
  • Nicotine causes damage to the cells resulting in inflammation. This is when your body attempts to cure itself. This kind of nerve damage makes it more difficult for your body to utilize insulin correctly. 
  • Smoking causes belly fat to increase. It has been noted that people who smoke tend to gain weight around their midsection more than the people who don’t smoke. This will cause further insulin resistance and increase the chances of type 2 diabetes. 
  • Smoking also has a severe impact on cholesterol levels. Your "bad" LDL cholesterol level may rise. Simultaneously, your "good" HDL cholesterol falls. Smoking boosts your triglycerides as well. These are the fats contained in your blood. Type 2 diabetes is linked to high cholesterol and triglycerides.

The chances of other health complications arising in people with diabetes that smoke are very high. The nicotine present in cigarettes makes blood sugar regulation even more difficult. If a person with diabetes uses insulin, they may need to ingest it more often than someone who does not smoke. Smoking combined with uncontrolled diabetes may hasten the deterioration of your whole body. This is due to damage to your large and small blood vessels. As compared to people with diabetes who do not smoke, smokers with diabetes can encounter the following health complications.

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Issues With The Eyes
  • Stroke
  • Failure Of The Kidneys
  • Damage To The Nerves (Neuropathy)
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Irregularities In Sleep Schedule

Have you wondered does smoking causes diabetes? While smoking does not directly cause diabetes, it leads to all the other ways of a healthy person developing diabetes. 

Tips To Quit Smoking

Smoking can be severely injurious to health. There is a reason why multiple warning signs are seen on cigarette boxes, played before movies, etc as it can mess up the entire oral and respiratory system. Nicotine and tobacco play strong roles in causing several diseases like cancer, bronchitis, rotting teeth, damage to the heart and lungs, etc. For a person with diabetes, smoking can be even more debilitating, and therefore, the need to quit smoking would be even higher. Since a person with diabetes is already susceptible to heart and other health issues, smoking can act as a catalyst and can trigger the onset of high cholesterol, poor bp, and other medical conditions.

Here are some important tips that can help you get rid of this habit:

1. Identify your reason

When you are habituated to a certain behavior, one of the things that often help break this habit would be to have a strong reason to break it. To get motivated, make a list of all the reasons that led you toward this decision

2. Mental preparation

Going ‘cold turkey’ may not always be easy. Simply tossing the cigarettes out may not work. Plan and prepare yourself mentally, physically, and socially. Take your time, make a plan and gradually reduce your intake. Prepare yourself for how your body will react when you stop smoking and take necessary steps to ensure the transition happens smoothly. 

3. Nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine withdrawals upon stopping smoking can cause symptoms like headaches, lethargy, more agitation, etc. Ensure that you have a better replacement in terms of nicotine gum, patches, etc so that you are not drawn back to smoking to curb these urges.

4. Social support

In times like these, help from your loved ones can go a long way to help you achieve your goals. Encouragement and mere presence can help you stay motivated and make responsible choices. Quitting smoking is an emotional and mental task just as much as it is a physical one. Surrounding yourself with your loved ones and accepting their help in this journey will go a long way in making you quit smoking. 

5. Better stress management

One major reason for people’s reliance on cigarettes could be the lack of better ways to relax. Identify what helps you take a break so that you can deal with the stress and burnout healthily. Actively avoid stressful situations when you have just quit smoking. Sometimes smoking is caused by some stressors. It could be work or it could be your personal life, whichever the case may be. It is a good idea to take a break and go for a vacation. This will help your mind and body to relax and you won’t feel like smoking as much as you normally do. 

6. Consider Alternatives

There are various alternatives you can turn to when you quit smoking. You can opt for chewing gums, nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine patches, counseling, etc. carefully consider all your options and then start your process. 

7. Go To A Doctor

Sometimes, getting professional help is necessary and a qualified doctor can help with your journey of quitting smoking. They may ask you to take prescription pills and medication which will in turn help you stay off cigarettes. Does smoking increase blood sugar? Yes, the doctor can help treat this as well. 

8. Avoid Smoking Triggers

If you’re thinking of quitting smoking it is essential that you avoid all triggers that cause it. Don’t visit places where people are smoking and avoid consuming alcohol as well. Surround yourself with sober people or ask your friends to smoke after you’ve left.

9. Reward Yourself

Whenever you achieve small milestones in your quitting journey, reward yourself with small things. This will keep you motivated to stay off cigarettes and you will get a sense of achievement as well. 

10. Don’t Give Up

Quitting smoking is not easy, there are bound to be days when you slip up and end up giving in to your craving. Whenever this happens, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, just start over from the next day and you will be fine. Remember, you’re only human and it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you get back on track.

Also read about benefits of dates for diabetes


Smoking has several negative health consequences. Smoking dramatically raises the risk of diabetes in persons who are predisposed to it. Diabetes and smoking make it difficult to regulate blood sugar levels and may exacerbate other health problems. When paired with untreated diabetes, smoking may expedite the degradation of your whole body. Although smoking may not directly cause diabetes, it does contribute to the development of diabetes in otherwise healthy people. If you’re wondering if quitting smoking can reverse diabetes, it's not the case but it will make managing it easier.

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How does smoking affect diabetes? 

Smoking can make the management of diabetes even more difficult. Nicotine is known to increase blood sugar levels and can make them difficult to manage and keep in check. This would mean that you would have to take higher doses of insulin. Other conditions like high cholesterol levels and heart and lung issues are also prominent.

Does quitting smoking help diabetes? 

Yes, quitting smoking can be a huge factor of relief for people with diabetes as it can bring down the level of blood sugar that rises due to nicotine. Additionally, it can create blockages in the arteries that can increase blood pressure levels and can also add stress to the heart. With the elimination of nicotine from the body, the BP levels also stay in the normal range. 

How much does smoking raise blood sugar? 

Smoking is linked to aggravating the symptoms of diabetes and is also one of the causal factors of the onset of the condition. Some studies have said that smoking about 20 cigarettes per day can increase blood sugar levels significantly, leading to the onset of diabetes. 

Does tobacco raise blood sugar?

Tobacco can raise blood sugar levels in the body and can also reduce the ability to use insulin making the management of diabetes worse. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, smoking even one cigarette or chewing small amounts of tobacco can make the problem worse. Passive smoking is also said to have harmful effects on the body.


This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.