Smoking and Diabetes

Smoking tobacco increases the risk of diabetes complications and, just like diabetes, affects the blood vessels, and considerably increases the risk of:

  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • eye, kidney and nervous-system problems

In addition to increasing the risk of complications, smoking reduces the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which means that a person with type 2 diabetes who smokes will see a rise in his insulin resistance.

Smoking: a risk factor for diabetes?

Although smoking isn’t typically considered to be a risk factor for diabetes, several studies have shown that smokers are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes than non-smokers or people who have quit smoking (Willi and al., 2007; Spijkerman and al., 2014).

There is also a link to the amount (Zhang and al., 2011): the more a person smokes, the higher the risk of developing diabetes. Fortunately, this risk progressively declines after a person quits smoking.

Take action

Do you want to quit smoking? Talk to your doctor, consult those resources and get control of your health!



Quit-to-Win Challenge

Research and text: Diabetes Québec Team of Health Care Professionals

January 2015


Willi C., Bodenmann P., Ghali WA., Faris PD., Cornuz J. (2007). Active smoking and the risk of type 2 diabetes; a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American Medical Association. Volume 298, pages 2654-2664.

InterAct Consortium, Spijkerman AM, van der A DL,et al. (2014).Smoking and long-term risk of type 2 diabetes: the EPIC-InterAct study in European populations. Diabetes Care. Volume 37, pages 3164-3171.

Zhang L., Garry CC., Frank BH., Eric BR., John PF. (2011) Association between passive and active smoking and incident type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes Care. Volume 34, pages 892-897.