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24 September 2015 09:37
Researchers say smoking is linked to an increased diabetes risk
The chance of developing Type 2 diabetes is raised by smoking, new research indicates.
Researchers sifted through the results of dozens of previous studies containing data on nearly six million people.
They found the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is increased among both those who smoke and people who inhale smoke passively.
People who currently smoke, the researchers say, are 37% more likely to develop the disease than those who have never taken up the habit.
Former smokers have a 14% increased chance of becoming diabetic and they link passive smoking to a 22% greater risk.
The research, carried out by scientists at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, suggests that the risk posed to former smokers falls as time goes on.
Writing in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal, they point out that the prevalence of diabetes is increasing around the world.
In the UK, getting on for three million people are thought to have Type 2 diabetes.
But it is something which they can still go on holiday with, protected by a diabetes travel insurance policy.
The researchers say, together with their findings and the fact that smoking is still highly prevalent in many countries, that when it comes to preventing and controlling diabetes, public health bodies should prioritise schemes which aim to cut tobacco use.
The team also say that further research is needed into why people who have stopped smoking appear to face a greater short-term risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.
Five experts, led by Professor Sattar at the University of Glasgow, have written a comment linked to the new research.
They say that smoking should now be treated as a risk factor for diabetes, as well as for many cancers and heart disease.
They add that smokers should be told that quitting their habit for good could, over time, cut their chances of getting diabetes.
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