Tobacco use and diabetes complications

Somali: Qiijinta sigaarka iyo cilad-korodhyada sonkorowga


Tobacco use and diabetes

Using tobacco makes diabetes harder to control. People who do not use tobacco use less insulin and other medicine to keep diabetes under control.


  • damages and narrows blood vessels (This can lead to infections and amputations.)
  • increases insulin resistance (This can raise your blood glucose.)
  • increases blood pressure (This can lead to stroke or heart disease.)
  • makes your blood vessels and arteries “sticky,” which can block blood flow (This raises your risks for heart disease, kidney disease, retinopathy (eye disease that causes blindness) and nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy).)

Smokeless tobacco:

  • contains a lot of sugar. (This can make it harder to control your glucose levels.)


  • are not safe (They are a tobacco product and contain nicotine.)
  • are not approved by the FDA as a way to quit smoking.

Benefits of quitting tobacco


  • lowers your chances of stroke, heart disease, insulin-resistance and nerve damage
  • gives you better glucose control
  • lowers your risks of many types of cancers.

Ideas for quitting tobacco

Studies show that the most successful way to quit uses counseling, medicines and follow-up. Ask your health care provider for more information.

Prepare to stop.

  • Get support from family and friends.
  • Avoid places where you know you will want to use tobacco.
  • Plan activities to replace using tobacco.

Choose a day to stop.

  • Get rid of cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters.


  • Stop on the day you planned to stop.
  • Be careful with situations or activities in which you might be tempted to start using tobacco again.
  • Try to keep your focus on today, not the future. Tell yourself, “I am not smoking today.”

Stay stopped.

  • Think positive thoughts.
  • Remember why you decided to stop.
  • Reward yourself.Remember that your craving will pass whether you use tobacco or not.
  • Do not play games like telling yourself, “One cigarette won’t hurt,” “I deserve a cigarette,” “I just want to see how a cigarette tastes.” Your brain might tell you these things to persuade you to go back to tobacco.

If you aren’t ready to quit

If quitting tobacco seems like too much right now, consider taking a break or a vacation from tobacco use.

This can help you get your blood glucose under control by restoring balance*.

  • Set a goal to stop using tobacco
  • Talk with your health care provider for resources or ways to cope with withdrawal symptoms.

If this goes well, maybe you will take more breaks during the year. This could lead to a tobacco-free life!

*Keep taking your medicine.

 Resources for quitting

Allina Health

  • Tobacco Intervention Program at Abbott Northwestern Hospital 612-863-1648
  • Tobacco Intervention Program at Mercy Hospital 763-236-8008
  • Tobacco Intervention Program at River Falls Area Hospital 715-307-6075
  • **United Hospital Lung and Sleep Clinic Tobacco Cessation Program 651-726-6200
  • **Penny George™ Institute for Health and Healing (LiveWell Center) tobacco intervention coaching 612-863-5178


  • Quit Smoking Hotline 1-800-QUIT-NOW (7848-669)
  • online tobacco cessation support
  • American Lung Association/Tobacco Quit Line 651-227-8014 or 1-800-586-4872
  • Chantix® GetQuit Support plan 1-877-CHANTIX (242-6849) or
  • financial aid for Chantix® or Nicotrol® inhaler 1-866-706-2400 or
  • *Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center’s Residential Treatment Program 1-800-344-5984 or 1-507-266-1930
  • To buy aromatherapy Plant Extracts 1-877-999-4236

**There may be a cost to you. Check with your insurance provider.


Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes, sixth edition
First Published: 11/27/2006
Last Reviewed: 10/23/2019