A new study of almost six million people discovered that second hand smoke or passive smoking is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who never smoked or inhaled cigarette fumes.
"Cigarette smoking should be considered as a key modifiable risk factor for diabetes. Public health efforts to reduce smoking will have a substantial impact on the global burden of type 2 diabetes," explains study co-author Frank Hu as reported by Harvard's news site.
The researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, and National University of Singapore, analyzed around 88 studies on the association of first hand and second hand smoke on the risk of having type 2 diabetes. The study, published in Lancet, found out that both active and passive smoking are linked to the occurrence of type 2 diabetes.
In fact, for smokers, the risk decreases if they have quitted smoking. Overall, the risk is increased for those who are currently smoking by 37%, for those who are formerly smoking by 14% and passive smoking by 22%, reports Medical News Today.
The authors commented in the study, "If the association between smoking and risk of type 2 diabetes is causal, public health efforts to reduce smoking could have a substantial effect on the worldwide burden of type 2 diabetes."
"Despite the global efforts to combat the tobacco epidemic, cigarette use remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide," said An Pan, the first author of the study and professor of epidemiology at School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China.
She added, "This study underscores the importance of implementing and enforcing the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The smoke-free policies can provide protections for non-smokers and may lead to increased successful cessation in smokers."