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Smoking and diabetes

To the editor:

No one starts out in life thinking they are going to be a smoker or a diabetic. We come into the idea of smoking through curiosity, peer pressure or constant tobacco advertising and marketing. These two health issues rise out of each other, depending on exposure and lifestyle.

In the 2014 surgeon general’s report, “Smoking is a cause of type 2 diabetes, which is also known as adult-onset diabetes. Smokers have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than do nonsmokers. The risk of developing diabetes increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day.”

So how does smoking affect the diabetic? Insulin, the hormone that reduces blood sugar level, is less effective when type 2 diabetics are exposed to high levels of nicotine. People with diabetes who smoke need larger doses of insulin to control their blood sugar levels. The list of serious health problems for smokers who are diabetic include heart and kidney disease, poor blood flow to feet and toes, retinopathy (blindness) and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage to extremities, weakness and poor coordination).

We don’t think of what can happen when we initially start using tobacco; no one does! The hope is that someone reading this can make their own personal connection, recognizing being “tobacco free” can improve chances of being “disease free.”

If you are a person who desires to quit smoking, talk to your doctor today. Many smokers do not quit on their first attempt, but the benefits are well worth it — don’t give up trying!

Resources for quitting:

¯ Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW

¯ www.smokefree.gov

¯ www.cdc.gov/tips.

Danielle O’Mara

Community engagement program coordinator

Tobacco-Free Clinton-Franklin-Essex

Plattsburgh

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