Smoking Increased Among Youth With Diabetes

Smoking Increased Among Youth With DiabetesSmoking Increased Among Youth With Diabetes: According to a new report from SEARCH Study Group, the number of young adults and children with diabetes who smoke has increased quite a bit, though health care providers are doing very little to encourage them to stop.

When a person has diabetes, they are already at a high risk for heart disease and when you put smoking into the mix, the risk becomes even greater. However, few studies have been created to find out the distinction between the two, in young adults and children. The study, which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, evaluated tobacco use and heart disease risk factor, both ethnically and racially. A diverse group of over 3,000 young adults and children who have been diagnosed with diabetes aging from 22 to 10 years were assessed in the United States.

Here is what they found:

Out of 10 percent of youth who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and 16 percent of youth who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were currently smoking. A little less than half of those evaluated said that they had been counseled by their health provider to stop smoking.


“We found a substantial proportion of youth with diabetes are current cigarette smokers, which greatly adds to their already elevated risk for heart disease. Smoking is preventable, so aggressive smoking prevention and cessation programs are needed to prevent or delay heart disease in youth with diabetes.” said study lead author Kristi Reynolds, PhD, MPH, a research scientist and epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation.

The findings of the study were based on data received from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study, which is a large multi-center study of youth who have been diagnosed with diabetes before the age of 20. The youth that the study was based on were enrolled in six different clinical centers in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington.

Here are some disconcerting statistics the study showed:

  • 1.3 percent of youth with type 1 diabetes age 10-14 years of age, smoke
  • 14.9 percent of youth with type 1 diabetes age 15-19 years of age, smoke
  • 27 percent of young adults with type 1 diabetes 20 years and older, smoke
  • 4.4 percent of youth with type 2 diabetes age 10-14 years of age, smoke
  • 12.9 percent of youth with type 2 diabetes age 15-19 years of age, smoke
  • 37.3 percent of young adults with type 2 diabetes 20 years and older, smoke

The study showed that among these teens early signs of heart disease were already showing. For example, many teens showed symptoms of high triglyceride levels, high LDL cholesterol levels and low HDL cholesterol levels.

“Cigarette smoking is a completely preventable risk factor for cardiovascular and other diseases. While this is true for all children, it is especially true for children with diabetes because of the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in that population,” commented study co-author Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD, professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Pediatrician-in-Chief at The Children’s Hospital in Denver.

Ninety percent of adult smokers began smoking at age 18, the risk of heart disease increases when a person has diabetes compared to a person who doesn’t.