Is It Harder to Kick the Habit if You Have Diabetes?

Smokers with diabetes have unique issues in terms of motivating and maintaining cessation.

May 12, 2009

Smoking increases the harmful effects of diabetes by increasing insulin resistance and worsening diabetes control. It raises the likelihood of microvascular and macrovascular complications associated with diabetes. The risk of death from heart disease and stroke is increased, as are the possibilities of neuropathy, nephropathy, and retinopathy

At the same time, smokers with diabetes have unique issues in terms of motivating and maintaining cessation. Some studies of smokers with diabetes have found that they tend to be less actively involved in their diabetes care than nonsmokers; for example, they may be less likely to check their blood glucose levels frequently or exercise regularly. They tend to feel less support from family and friends, and they report "often feeling sad or depressed" more often than their nonsmoking counterparts.  Post-cessation weight gain may also be an impediment to quitting. 

In addition to these challenges, providers caring for persons with diabetes face barriers to providing cessation assistance.  Health education for people with diabetes tends to focus on glycemic control, diet control, foot care, and other issues directly related to diabetes.  Like other healthcare providers, busy family practice physicians and certified diabetes educators frequently do not have sufficient time or compensation to provide effective cessation counseling.

Source: California Diabetes Program (

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Categories: Blood Glucose, Diabetes, Diabetes, Health, Insulin, Smoking

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Posted by lindakane on 21 May 2009

Everything the article says is so true but I have to say that instead of feeling encouraged to stop by reading this, I feel more depressed about my smoking.........I need solutions!!!!! Not more reasons to give up trying to quit.

Posted by Anonymous on 22 May 2009

I gave up smoking Valentines Day 5 years ago and was diagnoised with Diabetes the following November.....While I hope to never ever smoke again my addiction to food is stronger now....
Irish Diabetic

Posted by Anonymous on 23 May 2009

Lindakane, you *can* be a diabetic and successfully quit smoking. I have not had a cigarette since 2006, after smoking for 22 years. It takes finding a motivation to quit. I'd say it even takes an inspiration to quit. What's your reason? What's your inspiration? For me, it was someone I loved; I wanted to make her proud of me. I had tried to quit quite a few times before but never made it; this time I did, and stuck with it. That's another important thing. Once you've given up smoking, don't smoke another one. If you backslide, don't kick yourself; just say "well, I backslid, but I'm not going to let that stop me from quitting smoking" and go on as if you had not smoked one. Eventually you will find that you backslide less, and have fewer cravings, and can get through an entire day without thinking about how much you want a cigarette; then you've really started to win against this addiction.

Do NOT let this article discourage you. Go to your doctor and ask for real help in quitting smoking, not just more lectures about how you need to quit. There are probably motivational resources like live phone calls from real people asking you how you're doing, and maybe even free quit-smoking aids, available to you through state programs; most states seem to have this now. And your doctor has medication that she can prescribe for you if you need it to quit. I used Welbutrin. There's something else now too. It really did help in my case and is a large part of the reason I was actually able to quit!

Quit however you can, using whatever it takes. Weight can be worked off IF you gain any at all (and you don't necessarily gain weight; I didn't). Don't let fear of that stop you. You can do it.


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