Type 2 diabetes: quitting this habit could reduce your risk of diabetes by 40%

Just over four million people live with diabetes in the UK - and a lifestyle change could prevent that number growing
The UK currently faces a growing number of Type 2 diabetes patients (image: Adobe)The UK currently faces a growing number of Type 2 diabetes patients (image: Adobe)
The UK currently faces a growing number of Type 2 diabetes patients (image: Adobe)

It is estimated over four million people in the UK are currently living with diabetes, with the majority of these people having type 2. But now scientists have said that quitting smoking could help reduce this type of diabetes by as much as 30-40%.

A new report jointly developed by The World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the University of Newcastle discovered that quitting smoking not only reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes but also substantially improves the management and reduces the risk of diabetes complications.

Smoking influences the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, which can cause type 2 diabetes, as well as increase the risk of diabetes-related complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and blindness. Smoking also delays wound healing and increases the risk of lower limb amputations, posing a significant burden on health systems.

Prof. Akhtar Hussain, President of the International Diabetes Federation said: "The International Diabetes Federation strongly encourages people to stop smoking to reduce their risk of diabetes and, if they have diabetes, help avoid complications. We call on governments to introduce policy measures that will discourage people from smoking and remove tobacco smoke from all public spaces."

The WHO claims the message is clear: quitting smoking is not just about healthier lungs and hearts; it's also a concrete step in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Dr Ruediger Krech, WHO, Director of Health Promotion said: "Health professionals play a vital role in motivating and guiding individuals with type 2 diabetes in their journey to quit tobacco. Simultaneously, governments must take the crucial step of ensuring all indoor public places, workplaces and public transport are completely smoke-free. These interventions are essential safeguards against the onset and progression of this and many other chronic diseases."

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