Secondhand smoke linked to diabetes

NEW YORK Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:51am IST

Related Topics

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cigarette smoke is tied to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, both for smokers and the people around them, a new study shows.

And the more secondhand smoke people are exposed to, the greater their risk of type 2 diabetes, according to the paper in Diabetes Care.

The potential risks of diabetes from being exposed to secondhand smoke weren't previously known, said Dr. David Nathan, who heads the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and is a professor at Harvard Medical School.

"This just reinforces the lesson from a public health point of view that we've been stressing for decades," which is to limit exposure to cigarette smoke, Nathan, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health.

For the new research, Dr. John P. Forman at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and colleagues looked at the responses of more than 100,000 women to questionnaires they had answered in 1982. The women -- all nurses participating in a national study that would last several decades -- provided information about how much time they spent around cigarette smoke.

During the next 24 years, about one in 18 women were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Overall, about one in 13 people in the U.S. have this disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. Type 2 diabetes, in which the body can't process sugar properly, usually develops in adults. Sometimes it can be controlled by diet and exercise, but advanced cases require insulin treatment and can have life-threatening complications.

Forman's group found that women who smoked more than two packs a day had the highest odds of developing diabetes. For every 10,000 women in the study, about 30 of the heavy smokers got diabetes every year, compared to about 25 women who didn't smoke and didn't spend time exposed to other people's cigarette smoker.

The risks were actually higher for ex-smokers and for women exposed to second-hand smoke. In both of these groups, about 39 of every 10,000 women developed diabetes each year. However, once the researchers took things such as weight status, age, and family history of diabetes into account, the ex-smokers had a 12 percent higher risk of diabetes compared to women who were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.

Even though the smokers had a lower risk of developing diabetes in this study, that doesn't mean it's better for them to continue smoking, Nathan said.

In this study, nearly all the women were white, but type 2 diabetes affects men and women fairly equally, Nathan said.

"There's no a priori reason to think that this wouldn't apply to men as well," he told Reuters Health, since the risk factors for the disease are the same for both sexes.

Nathan said no one knows why smoking and type 2 diabetes are linked, but inflammation may play a role in both.

Forman and his team did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

Nathan noted that the study can't prove that smoking causes diabetes. It just shows they are associated with each other.

But "did we need another reason not to smoke? I don't think so," he said.

SOURCE: bit.ly/i1whLA Diabetes Care, online February 25, 2011.

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Reuters Showcase

Climate Change

Climate Change

U.S.-China climate deal does not put pressure on India, says Modi  Full Article 

Bangladesh Politics

Bangladesh Politics

Bangladesh charges opposition chief with instigating attack on bus  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Rebels press Ukraine offensive, Obama promises steps against Russian-backed "aggression"  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Sweet revenge for Murray as old guard hold firm   Full Article 

Box Office

Box Office

Eastwood's "American Sniper" continues as U.S. box office juggernaut   Full Article 

Boko Haram Fight

Boko Haram Fight

Nigeria repels suspected Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri city  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

Dolly ki Doli is a breezy watch, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar.  Full Article | Related Story 

Akshay Kumar's Latest

Akshay Kumar's Latest

"Baby" is a smartly written, well-acted film  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage