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Passive smoking can lead to type 2 diabetes

Passive smoking can lead to type 2 diabetes

Passive smoking can be just as harmful as puffing away at a cigarette, and a new study has found that it puts you at risk of diabetes.

Researchers combined the results of 88 studies on nearly six million people, and found that inhaling second-hand smoke raises the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes by 22 per cent. Meanwhile, smokers are 37 per cent more likely to be diagnosed compared to non-smokers.

Type 2 diabetes is when the body's insulin levels are high enough, leaving it unable to function properly, or body's cells don't react to insulin.

Scientists stress that the more cigarettes smoked each day, the higher the risk of the disease, with light smokers coming in at 21 per cent, moderate 34 percent and 57 per cent for heavy smokers.

However the chance of getting type 2 diabetes reduces if people quit, going from 54 per cent over the first five years to just 11 per cent after a decade.

The results, published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, were gathered Professor Frank Hu of Harvard University and Professor An Pan of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China.

Professor Hu stresses the importance of warning smokers about diabetes.

"Cigarette smoking should be considered as a key modifiable risk factor for diabetes," he notes.

"Public health efforts to reduce smoking will have a substantial impact on the global burden of type 2 diabetes."

Professor Naveed Sattar at University of Glasgow is also keen on the idea of doctors informing people on what the dangers of smoking are.

"Doctors should mention that, as well as being a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and many cancers, smoking should also be regarded as a risk factor for diabetes - albeit with a small effect relative to, for example, lung cancer," he says.

"Patients who smoke should also be informed that stopping smoking and maintaining long-term abstinence will not only lessen their cardiovascular and cancer risks, but over time, might also lessen their diabetes risk.

"Of course, convincing people to never take up smoking would be even better; in this respect, public health messages should perhaps now include diabetes on the list of smoking-related harms."

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