Smoking is the single most self-destructive habit you can have, and it’s also the one that’s very popular all over the globe. It’s a deadly habit that’s extremely frustrating to quit, and even when you do, the aftermaths will remain in your body.
The World Health Organization (WHO) shows that approximately 8 million people are killed by tobacco annually, where 7 million people are killed by direct tobacco consumption and 1.2 million are just exposed to second-hand smoke. More importantly, smoking is one of the primary causes of type 2 diabetes, a common chronic disease.
Diabetes is caused by a spike in your blood sugar, and when you’re a regular smoker, your chances of being diagnosed with diabetes are higher. In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about the link between smoking and diabetes.
Statistics: Smoking and Diabetes
- 25% of current smokers have developed diabetes in the span of 5 years compared to the 14% who never smoked in their life
- Smokers have a 50% chance of developing type 2 diabetes compared to non-smokers.
- According to a 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, several reasons have been found on why smoking can cause diabetes for individuals, including oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Heavy smokers have at least a 50% probability of getting diabetes.
- Smoking can damage your cardiovascular system. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 68% of adults age 65 and above diagnosed with diabetes die from stroke.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that individuals with diabetes are three times more likely to die from pneumonia since smoking directly affects their lungs.
Why Should You Stop Smoking?
Other than the compelling statistics above, smoking is the most addicting habit you can have. It can hinder you from living your best life, and this kind of addiction will affect all areas of your life. Nicotine is a very addicting substance, and it’s better to quit as early as you can while you’re still not diagnosed with diabetes or any other serious illness that you may not recover from.
The moment you quit smoking, your body naturally begins to repair itself from the damage caused by it, which is why stopping at an early stage will do you good. More than the physical aspects, smoking can also negatively impact your mental functions.
Cognitive decline happens faster when you smoke, and this is especially true for men, according to a 2012 study. It showed that middle-aged male smokers experienced faster cognitive decline than non-smokers or female smokers.
The National Institutes of Health also reports that nicotine changes your brain, so when you constantly put that substance in your body, you experience all these withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit, which is precisely what makes it difficult to do it.
How to Quit Smoking
· Do it cold turkey
While this can be a challenging way to quit smoking, this method works for some individuals. The cold turkey way of quitting is just to stop smoking entirely without doing it gradually. You should expect withdrawal symptoms when you quit cold turkey, such as feeling sick and nauseous. If you have the discipline, cold turkey can be your way out of smoking as a whole.
· Engage in another habit
Since smoking is a destructive habit, you can try replacing it with a healthier habit such as exercise. The most common reason people smoke is stress, so the next time you feel stressed or frustrated, do other activities that can help you deal with stress but in a healthy way. This could be exercise, meditation, or even as simple as going out.
· Break your patterns
It can be frustrating to quit smoking because of a cycle you’ve been accustomed to, such as smoking with friends or every time you’re drinking alcohol. These are called patterns, and you need to find a way to break them or, at least, contain them when you feel tempted to smoke.
Realize that smoking won’t change your life for the better, and only in breaking your patterns can you turn away from this addiction.
Smoking and diabetes are linked to one another, and your risk of diabetes is even higher when you’re a regular or heavy smoker. If you’re looking for a guide to diabetes to avoid or manage it better, drinking wine to keep safe from diabetes is said to be an effective way that you can try, but make sure to do it in moderation.
To effectively quit smoking, the best thing you can do is take it one step at a time until you find that you no longer need to smoke. Rather than relying on nicotine to make yourself feel better, realize that it’s not the only habit that exists to help you cope with stress.
About the Author
Jolina D. Santos, MD
Dr. Jolina began her journey as a health care professional when she took her medical degreein one of the most prestigious med schools in the Philippines.
With a solid foundation, the Thomasian took her residency training in internal medicine at Capitol Medical Center. Deciding her calling was to help treat people suffering from diabetes, she took her clinical fellowship at the Institute for Studies on Diabetes Foundation, Inc (ISDFI).
To further her studies, she proceeded to take her Master of Science in Diabetology at UERM-ISDFI and is currently completing her thesis. Apart from serving as a consultant for the For Your Sweetheart website, Dr. Jolina is a visiting faculty at the ISDFI and is currently practicing in Quezon City.