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Passive Smoking Increases Diabetes Risks By 22 Percent: How To Reduce Exposure To Secondhand Smoke

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A new study shows non-smokers carry higher chances of having type 2 diabetes compared to people who have never smoked or inhaled tobacco. Findings reveal that active or chain smokers are 37 percent more likely to develop the same illness.

Past studies reveal how type 2 diabetes increases the chance of a heart attack, stroke and blindness. Reformed smokers are still 14 percent more likely to develop diabetes compared to people who have never lit a cigarette or inhaled secondhand smoke.

The United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) is consistent in their public warning: 80 percent of secondhand smoke is invisible to the naked eye, and it increases one's risk of getting pneumonia, meningitis and cancer.

The study debuted in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology medical journal. The research team examined 88 previous studies that cover a collection of nearly 6 million participants in the UK. The accumulated evidence shows that both firsthand and secondhand smoke play a significant role in increasing one's chances of developing type 2 diabetes. The researchers added that the decrease or absence of active smoking should also reduce the frequency of being exposed to secondhand smoke.

"We know that both smoking and passive smoking are extremely harmful to health for many reasons and that a huge proportion of people who smoke die as a result of it," said Richard Elliot, Diabetes UK's research communications manager. The study reveals that there is a link between smoking and type 2 diabetes, but the research bears no proof that the habit actually causes the disease. The researchers stress that smoking is a risk factor that could account for almost 27.8 million diabetes cases worldwide.

University of Glasgow Professor Naveed Sattar suggested that doctors should inform their patients that passive and active smoking are proven risk factors in diabetes, not just cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Long-term abstinence will also significantly lessen their diabetes risk. He added that public health organizations should add diabetes to the list of smoke-related problems.

"We advise smokers with diabetes who want to stop smoking to use licensed nicotine products or electronic cigarettes, which will deal with any cravings," said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash, an anti-smoking charity based in the UK. The Lancet research is crucial to help drive smoke-free laws and eventually reduce the number of active and passive smokers.

Starting Oct. 1, it will be illegal to smoke inside cars or vehicles, both public and private, with underage passengers. This law is applicable to both drivers and passengers where a fine amounting to $78 dollars will be charged.

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