Quitting smoking lowers risk of diabetes by 40%: Report by WHO, International Diabetes Federation


Quitting smoking may not only keep your lungs and heart healthier, but it can also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 30-40 per cent, according to a joint report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the University of Newcastle.

World Diabetes Day is marked every year on November 14 to raise awareness about the condition.

The IDF estimates that 537 million people have diabetes, a number that continues to rise making diabetes the ninth cause of death globally. Type 2 diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases worldwide, accounting for over 95 per cent of all diabetes cases. However, type 2 diabetes is often preventable.

“The International Diabetes Federation strongly encourages people to stop smoking to reduce their risk of diabetes and, if they have diabetes, help avoid complications. We call on governments to introduce policy measures that will discourage people from smoking and remove tobacco smoke from all public spaces,” Akhtar Hussain, President of the IDF, said in a statement.

In addition to lowering diabetes risk, quitting smoking can also substantially improve the management and reduce the risk of diabetes complications. Evidence suggests that smoking influences the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, which can cause type 2 diabetes.

Smoking also increases the risk of diabetes-related complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and blindness. It also delays wound healing and increases the risk of lower limb amputations, posing a significant burden on health systems.

“Health professionals play a vital role in motivating and guiding individuals with type 2 diabetes in their journey to quit tobacco. Simultaneously, governments must take the crucial step of ensuring all indoor public places, workplaces and public transport are completely smoke-free. These interventions are essential safeguards against the onset and progression of this and many other chronic diseases,” said Ruediger Krech, Director of Health Promotion, WHO.

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