Diabetes Q&A

Could Quitting Smoking Affect Glycemic Control?

According to a recent study, smoking cessation was linked to deteriorating glycemic control over a 3-year duration in patients with type 2 diabetes.

“Smoking increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, several population studies also show a higher risk in people 3-5 years after smoking cessation than in continuing smokers,” said the study’s authors.

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“We examined whether or not quitting smoking was associated with altered diabetes control in a population study, for how long this association persisted, and whether or not this association was mediated by weight change,” they said.

For the study, UK researchers used electronic medical records from general practices to identify 10,692 smokers with type 2 diabetes.

After a median 6-year follow-up, 29% (3131) of patients had quit smoking for 1 year or more. Investigators noted a mean hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) increase of 0.21%  after the first year.

Over a 3-year period, HbA1c levels slowly waned after the initial spike among those who quit smoking.

The investigators noted that confounding variables such as weight gain did not impact the increase in hemoglobin levels.

The complete study is published in the April issue of Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

-Michelle Canales Butcher


Lycett D, Nichols L, Ryan R, et al. The association between smoking cessation and glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes: a THIN database cohort study. Lancet Diabet Endocrinol. 2015 April [epub ahead of print] doi: