Smoking in diabetes

David Kinshuck



Why stop...smoking triples or quadruples damage

Smoking triples or quadruples the damage to the body caused by diabetes by causing hardening of the arteries. This particularly affects the body's larger arteries to the legs and brain, making amputation and strokes more likely. Similarly,  it triples or quadruples the retinopathy progression rate of diabetic complications .

In addtion, smoking doubles the risk of diabetes.

smoking and cigarettes


each cigarette increases retinopathy progression rate 15-20% enlarge & press F11

The harmful effect does not depend on whether you smoke cigarettes, a pipe, or cigars, but is more dependent on the amount you smoke. Smoking 5 cigarettes a day is much safer than 20 a day. Excellent websites (below).

The diagram above illustrated the harmful effects, but is very diagramatic. If 20 cigarettes a day triples retinopathy progression (increases it to 300%), that is equivalent to 300/20 = 15% for each cigarette smoked.

Hovever, even 'Just one cigarette a day seriously elevates cardiovascular risk ' BMJ18, so it is best to stop completely.

Stopping smoking reduces depression BMJ 2014


Your partner and passive smoking


Your partner develops a quarter of the harmful effects you experience. If you smoke 20/day, this is equivalent to your partner smoking 5/day.5 cigarettes a day equivalent increases your partners disease rate by 12-25% or more (cataracts, heart disease, strokes) etc.

The exact figures are not known. 10000 people a year die in the UK from passive smoking, many in the hospitality industry, see .

Similarly partners that smok outside the house and then return inside will be harming their housemates.






Help stopping, links, online help


How to stop..follow the path with your mouse...


How to stop: prepare

  1. Prepare
    • Be sure you want to stop, know why you want to, be ready, have a plan.
    • You can stop, although it can be very hard trying.
    • Most smokers go through a cycle  preparing-stopping-relapsing before finally stopping.
    • Think of the reasons the reasons you want to continue, and the reasons why you want to stop.
  2. Problems or excuses
    • Stress, weight, 'too late', will power, withdrawal symptoms, stop suddenly or gradually
    • Understand your habits.
  3. Throw away the day before
    • The day before you want to stop throw away any cigarettes you have
  4. Stock up
    • Stock up on sugar-free gum, raw vegetables, or fruit to munch instead.
  5. Set a date
    • Set a date, and think of all the reasons you want to stop, and write them down.
    • Keep thinking of these over the next few weeks.
  6. Relax
    • Join yoga tai-chi or other relaxation classes, or read how to relax in the librar
  7. Exercise
    • such as walking, swimming, or dancing may help some people .. but start gently
  8. Stress
    • this needs to be reduced....see here taken from here
  9. Tell everyone
    • Tell your friends you want to stop and ask for their support.. so they do not keep offering you cigarettes
  10. Extra support
    • If you think you are addicted to cigarettes, and especially if you started age 14 or less, patches or other nicotine replacements may help.
  11. Ask your pharmacist for advice.
  12. How will you cope?
    • Think about how you will cope in the pub or with friends or at work
  13. Recent research has identified factors that help people be happy:
    • exercise, learning new things, music and comedy, and making new friends participating in new activities.
  14. A new hobby
    • A new hobby can help .. what are your interests.. a holiday with the savings?

Medications to help you stop


Nicotine replacment therapy including lozenges

See here for details about new lozenges that you can suck instead of smoking a cigarette. They contain nicotine, and are rumoured to be very helpful in helping you to stop smoking. They are available from any chemist.


Chronic mental illness

It is very difficult to stop smoking if you have a chronic mental illness BMJ 15. So  mental health problems really need treating first ideally, but the smoking increases the mental health problems, so sometimes this is not possible.