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Light a cigarettes, get type 2 diabetes

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Staff writer ▼ | September 22, 2015
New study   A key modifiable risk factor

Smokers have a much greater risk for type 2 diabetes than those who never smoked, and the same is true for those routinely exposed to secondhand smoke, a new study suggests.

But the Harvard researchers said this increased risk gradually drops over time once smokers kick the habit.

"Cigarette smoking should be considered as a key modifiable risk factor for diabetes," study co-author Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said in a university news release.

"Public health efforts to reduce smoking will have a substantial impact on the global burden of type 2 diabetes," Hu added.

Countless studies have linked smoking to serious health issues, including cancer, lung disease and heart disease. In conducting the study, the researchers investigated the link between smoking and diabetes. The study was only designed to find an association, and not a cause-and-effect relationship.

The new analysis included 88 previous studies involving nearly 6 million people. The studies specifically examined the effects of smoking on the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Compared with never smoking, current smoking increased the risk for the disease by 37 percent, according to the report in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

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