Don’t Let Your Diabetes Management Efforts Go Up in Smoke

You’ve heard the message millions of times. There are heart wrenching ads on radio, billboards, television, and even at schools during the month of November – the Great American Smoke Out. The ads have been explicit, knocking us on the head about the harm of smoking. And it’s not something new – these ads shouting out the health risks of smoking have been in our face since the 1960s.

There’s no ground breaking news here – the medical community advises smoking is bad for our health, yet 1 in 5 people still smoke. In the healthy population, tobacco use alone weakens the immune system, delays healing, and clearly leads to deadly health conditions like lung cancer and heart disease.

For people with diabetes, tobacco use can bring a much higher risk for complications. Smoking can help start a domino effect – smoking greatly increases the risk for heart disease – smoking increases insulin resistance causing higher blood glucose levels – high blood glucose levels also increase the risk for heart disease. It’s the same with poor wound healing, stroke, eye disease and kidney disease. High blood glucose and smoking multiply the damage to blood vessels, and multiply the risks. It’s an eye-opening coincidence (if it is a coincidence) that the Great American Smoke Out and National Diabetes Awareness Month both happen in November.

Smoking is an addictive behavior so we know it isn’t easy to quit. Most people try to quit numerous times, and there isn’t just one proven method – its individual. There are a number of resources to quit smoking programs:

American Cancer Society
Toll-free number: 1-800-227-2345

Each state has a tobacco cessation line (in collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office on Smoking and Health)
Toll-free quit support line: 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW)
TTY: 1-800-332-8615
Quitting help website:

National Cancer Institute
Free tobacco quit line: 1-877-448-7848 (1-877-44U-QUIT) (also available in Spanish)
Smoking cessation website:

Nicotine Anonymous (NicA)
Toll-free number: 1-877-879-6422 (1-877-TRY-NICA)


If you decide to quit smoking, there is great news – the health benefits begin immediately. People with diabetes who have quit smoking have seen better control of their blood sugar in as little time as 8 weeks. Stop smoking – don’t let your diabetes management efforts go up in smoke.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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