Quitting smoking could slash your risk of diabetes by up to 40 percent

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It is thought more than four million people in the UK are currently living with diabetes.

Of these the majority have type 2 diabetes. Unlike type 1, this condition is typically linked to lifestyle factors, although it can also be hereditary.

This means that for some people it could be prevented by making certain changes to things such as their diet and exercise routine.

Now experts have advised that dropping a specific habit could significantly slash your risk of type 2 diabetes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and University of Newcastle have joined forces to encourage people to quit smoking for this very reason.

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According to a new brief, issued jointly, giving up smoking can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 to 40 percent.

The brief explains: “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.

“Evidence suggests that smoking influences the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, which can cause type 2 diabetes.

“Smoking also increases the risk of diabetes-related complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and blindness.”

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It added: “Smoking also delays wound healing and increases the risk of lower limb amputations, posing a significant burden on health systems.”

According to the IDF around 537 million people worldwide have diabetes, a figure that is continuing to rise.

It is also the ninth most common cause of death globally.

Professor Akhtar Hussain, president of the IDF, 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.”

This message was backed by Dr Ruediger Krech, director of health promotion at WHO.

He 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.”

The NHS has a number of support services available to help you quit smoking.

Your GP or pharmacist can refer you to local services, or there are free national helplines you can call.

Visit nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/nhs-stop-smoking-services-help-you-quit to find out more.

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