Smoking May Increase Type 2 Diabetes Risk, Study Says

Research from the Harvard School of Public Health says smokers may have a 37 percent higher risk of developing the disease.

As if you needed yet another reason to ditch the cigarettes, research from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) says smoking may increase your type 2 diabetes risk.

The 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s report first suggested a link between smoking and type 2 diabetes, but HSPH’s research adds evidence to the debate. The researchers performed a meta-analysis of 88 prior studies that looked at associations between smoking and type 2 diabetes. After analyzing the data of the 6 million people who participated in those studies, they estimated that, worldwide, 11.7 percent of men and 2.4 percent of women with type 2 diabetes can relate their disease back to smoking in some way.

Their analysis also suggests that current smokers have a 37 percent higher risk of developing diabetes than non-smokers, former smokers have a 14 percent higher risk, and those consistently exposed to second-hand smoke have a 22 percent higher risk. Additionally, former smokers’ diabetes risk fell the longer they had gone without smoking. The number of cigarettes smoked per day also made a difference, with the heaviest smokers experiencing the highest chances of developing diabetes.

“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, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH, in a statement.