Smoking and diabetes complications

Somali: Qiijinta sigaarka iyo cilad-korodhyada sonkorowga

Smoking is harmful to health for everyone, but especially for people with diabetes. Adding smoking to diabetes more than doubles your risk of illness and death from heart disease, stroke and poor circulation. Foot problems, kidney and eye disease are all made worse by smoking.

How smoking affects you


  • cuts the amount of oxygen to tissues
  • increases cholesterol levels
  • damages and narrows blood vessels
  • increases blood pressure
  • increases insulin resistance which can lead to an increase in blood glucose levels
  • can cause impotence

Diabetes already puts you at risk for the problems listed above. You can reduce your risks not only by controlling your diabetes but also by quitting smoking.

Suggestions for quitting smoking

There are three stages to quitting:

1. Preparing to stop. You have to want to quit, so think of good reasons to stop and then do the following:

  • Get support from family and friends.
  • Talk with your health care provider about the value of using nicotine chewing gum or patches, medicines or other aids to quitting.
  • Avoid places where you know you will want to smoke.
  • Plan activities to replace smoking.

2. Choose a day to stop.

  • Get rid of cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters.
  • Plan rewards. Remember, you will be saving a lot of money so you can afford to reward yourself!

3. Stopping.

  • Review your action plan.
  • Stop on the day you planned to stop.
  • Be careful with alcohol and situations in which you might be tempted to start smoking again.
  • Take one day at a time. Do not worry about tomorrow.

Stay stopped.

  • Think positive thoughts. Remember why you decided to stop. Reward yourself.
  • Avoid difficult situations.
  • Don't play games like, "One cigarette won't hurt."
  • Find out about local self-help or support groups if you think that would be helpful.

It will take about 3 months for you to think of yourself as someone who doesn't smoke. In the meantime, you still think of yourself as someone who smokes and may want to reach for a cigarette when you are under stress.

If you lapse into smoking again, don't worry. Many people who smoke go through the three stages several times before they are successful. When you are ready, review your plan to quit and begin again.

If you need help, there are many programs available. For more information, talk with your health care provider or diabetes educator, or call Allina Health Class Registration at 1-866-904-9962.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes, sixth edition
First Published: 11/27/2006
Last Reviewed: 01/09/2015