Diabetes and Smoking

Most people know smoking is not good for your health, but did you know smoking can lead to Type 2 diabetes? And if you have diabetes, smoking can make it much worse.

How Smoking Can Lead to Type 2 Diabetes
  • Insulin helps blood sugar enter cells, but nicotine changes cells so they don’t respond to insulin, which increases blood sugar levels. 
  • Chemicals in cigarettes harm cells in your body and cause inflammation. This also makes cells stop responding to insulin.
  • People who smoke have a higher risk of belly fat, which increases the risk for type 2 diabetes even if they aren’t overweight.

Also consider that if you smoke, you’re 30% to 40% more likely to get type 2 diabetes than people who don’t smoke. The more you smoke, the higher your risk.

Smoking with Diabetes

Diabetes is difficult to manage and smoking can make it even more so. People with diabetes who smoke often need larger doses of insulin to keep their blood sugar close to their target levels because nicotine increases blood sugar levels and makes them harder to handle. 

Quit for Good

No matter how long you’ve smoked—or how much—quitting will help you get healthier. As soon as you stop smoking, your body starts healing itself:

  • In 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • In 12 hours, carbon monoxide (a toxic gas from cigarette smoke) in your blood drops to normal.
  • In 2 weeks to 3 months, your circulation and lung function improve.
  • In a year, your risk for heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes.
  • Quitting smoking also helps your body use insulin better, which can make your blood sugar levels easier to manage.
Mohawk's Tobacco Cessation Program

Cigna Healthy Life Team Navigators are here to help you stop smoking. As part of Mohawk's Tobacco Cessation Program, Healthy Life Navigators may provide nicotine replacement thereapy patches or gum. For more information or to get started, call 855-566-4295, Option 4.

More Information

To read the full article, click here to visit the Center's for Disease Control's (CDC) website.


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