Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, both in the US, and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil conducted the study which implicated the extra pounds often gained after quitting tobe the probabl cause for the increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Dr Hsin-Chieh, the lead author of the report, stressed that such findings should not be used as an excuse not to quit. The real message is: “Don't even start to smoke, If you smoke, give it up. That's the right thing to do. But people have to also watch their weight,"
Researchers followed almost 11,000 middle aged adults for 17 years, who had not been diagnosed for Type 2 diabetes. The scientist regularly collected data on diabetes status, glucose levels, weight, and smoking status, as well as other measures.
The results showed that the heaviest smokers had an estimated 42 percent higher risk of developing diabetes after quitting. The research also saw the correlation between the higher incidence of diabetes risk with weight gain. On average, over those first three years, quitters gained about 8.4 pounds and their waist size grew by approximately 1.25 inches.
The research also determined that the greatest risk occurred in the first three years and then gradually diminished to zero after 12 years. In addition, they found that the heaviest smokers, and the quitters who put on the most weight, had the highest risk of developing diabetes.
What makes the issue more confusing is that smoking in itself is considered a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes, along with family history and obesity. How smoking contributes to the development of diabetes is not clear. Smoking also increases the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The report in The Annals of Internal Medicine concluded: "Cigarette smoking predicts incident Type 2 diabetes, but smoking cessation leads to higher short-term risk. For smokers at risk for diabetes, smoking cessation should be coupled with strategies for diabetes prevention and early detection,"
The researchers suggested that healthcare practitioners keep these finding in mind when helping smokers to quit. Quitters should be counseled on additional lifestyle changes, including aggressive weight management, exercise, diet and nicotine replacement. The study also recommended more thorough blood glucose screening to ensure early detection of patients who might be developing diabetes.