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Diabetes Risk on Smoking Cessation

Although smoking promotes the development of diabetes, especially among heavy smokers, quitting may also raise smokers’ short-term risk of developing diabetes.  This is according to the results of long-term follow-up of the participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in communities study.

Lead author Dr. Hsin-Chieh Yeh of Johns Hopkins University furthered that the jump in diabetes risk after quitting smoking reaches its peak within 3 years but stays elevated for at least another 6 years and appears to be at least partly promoted by weight gain.

“Starting not to smoke is always best,” Dr. Yeh explained. “In the short term, the patient and the physician should pay additional attention to weight management and weight control (once the patient decided to quit smoking).”  She added that counseling and other interventions to help quitters prevent weight gain through diet and exercise is also important.  But in the end, despite the fact that smoking cessation still has many positive health effects that outweigh the increased risk of diabetes, physicians should be ware of this elevated risk and should consider countermeasures, especially for heavy smokers, the authors concluded.

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