A Compelling Reason to Never Start Smoking: What if I were to tell you that people who stop smoking are 70% more likely to develop diabetes? I suppose that depends on whether you’ve only considered smoking and this convinces you not to – or if you are a smoker and have considered stopping.
It’s a new year and many individuals are doing their best to kick a habit that does damage to the lungs and often shortens life expectancy, but new information has many struggling with how to make wise decisions.
A new study followed 10,000 people who did not have diabetes when the study began. What researchers discovered was that a significant portion of those who quit smoking for health reasons were also prone to the development of diabetes.
The common thread in these findings was that of weight gain. Patients who quit smoking often substituted their craving for nicotine with a craving for something else. This was usually fulfilled in eating comfort foods. Essentially the weight gain from these coping mechanisms resulted in conditions in which diabetes could develop.
There is good news in this story. According to Guardian.co.uk the diabetes risk spiked in the first three year. “It then slowly reduced, over about 10 years, down to the level of risk of someone who never smoked,” the report indicated.
What if weight gain was not a problem? Well according to that same report, “The risk of diabetes from stopping smoking was almost cancelled out when they took account of the amount of weight people gained. So a smoker who didn’t gain weight after stopping might have little or no increased risk of diabetes.”
This works to confirm the long-standing research that indicates excess weight is often a profound contributor to diabetes.
According to Guardian.co.uk, “The study was done by researchers at universities in the US (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) and in Brazil. It was published in a journal called the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study was funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in the US.”
To be clear this report is in no way suggesting that people who smoke should continue smoking. The health risks make stopping not only reasonable, but also responsible. The overriding consensus seems to be that those who stop smoking should also be very aware of potential weight gain and work with their health care provider to maintain the weight while they break the chains of cigarette addiction.
Perhaps critical to this story is the idea that the best defense is a proactive offense. As diabetic rates continue to rise to unprecedented levels it may make more sense that ever to encourage young people to refrain from smoking in the first place. If a young person can really grasp the notion that the smoke damages the lungs and increases risk for heart attack and stroke they might think about not smoking. If they also understand that by trying to quit smoking once they start the end result could be diabetes they may rightfully conclude that it is a waste of time to pick up the habit.
Like almost everything in life it all comes down to choices. Some you can make early and can affect you for a lifetime. Others are made later and may provide more challenging circumstances to deal with.