A number of studies have examined the link between smoking and early death in people with diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies performed by Pan and colleagues found that smoking was associated with a higher risk of total mortality from coronary heart disease and stroke, as well as mortality from peripheral artery disease, heart failure, and other complications. These findings were consistent with the findings of earlier studies.
Although the relationship between smoking and diabetes is complex and confusing, this association should encourage greater efforts to design effective smoking cessation programs and avoidance strategies. Furthermore, the high smoking prevalence in people with diabetes indicates the importance of systematically counseling smokers with diabetes. But it should not be the sole cause of concern.
In a recent study, researchers from the Nurses’ Health Study looked at mortality rates in women with diabetes. They included 7,401 women who had type 2 diabetes at baseline and during follow-up. Their focus was on cause-specific mortality and total mortality in women with diabetes.
Smoking also interferes with the way the body process sugar. It is associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes by 30 to 40%. Moreover, a study from 2016 found that non-smokers had lower levels of the blood sugar hemoglobin A1C, which measures blood sugar.
Smoking increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It can also increase the risk of dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and other conditions. Researchers have looked into the relationship between smoking and mortality in people with type 2 diabetes. And although these results do not prove smoking causes early death, it does suggest a relationship between diabetes and early death. But it is still unclear whether the relationship between diabetes and mortality is causal or merely coincidental.
Fortunately, people with type 2 diabetes can live longer thanks to improvements in diabetes treatment and prevention. Researchers also note that cancer and stroke are now the leading causes of death for people with type 2 diabetes. It is a clear indication that the long-term effects of smoking on this condition are still too early to make any definitive conclusions.
While a number of studies have concluded that quitting smoking reduces the risk of cardiovascular events in people with diabetes, the exact effects of quitting have yet to be determined. However, there is ample evidence to suggest that smoking increases the risk of new-onset T2DM, but it tends to decline over time. This is consistent with the results of a recent systematic review of ten prospective cohort studies on the relationship between smoking and diabetes.