Smoking and Diabetes: The Top Risks and More

By: Jolie Wiener

November 12, 2020

Is smoking bad for type 2 diabetes? While we all know that smoking is pretty bad for you, it can be a tough habit to kick. Nevertheless, if you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it’s very important that you understand the extra dangers of smoking with the disease. 


In this article, we’ll cover everything related to smoking and diabeteswhy is smoking bad for diabetics, what risks are involved, and how you can finally quit.

Risks of Smoking with Diabetes

Wondering why diabetics should not smoke? In addition to the regular reasons cited by doctors and scientists, there are a few specific risks for people with diabetes.

Smoking Makes You More At Risk For the Disease

First of all, smoking can actually make you more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes in the first place. Research shows that heavy smoking might increase glucose intolerance while making your body more likely to gain fat around the stomach. Both of these can then lead to diabetes. 

The Side Effects of Smoking Can Make Diabetes Symptoms Worse

In general, smoking is considered to be pretty unhealthy. This is because it can:


  • Lead to cell and tissue damage
  • Cause oxidative stress
  • Damage the immune system
  • Make respiratory infections more likely
  • Increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke
  • Reduced circulation

All of these can make the symptoms of type 2 diabetes harder to deal with. You may compromise your body so much that normal infections become much harder to deal with because of the combination of smoking and diabetes. 

Smoking Makes You More At Risk For Heart and Kidney Disease

Because smoking makes your immune system compromised and negatively affects the heart and circulatory systems, you’ll be at an even greater risk of developing heart-related health conditions. As you probably know, diabetics are already at risk for these types of conditions, so smoking just makes it worse. 

Smoking Makes a Healthy Lifestyle More Difficult

You probably know that exercise is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. Doctors frequently recommend a steady exercise regime for diabetic patients to help them manage the condition and feel their best. 


If you are a smoker, you may have nerve damage, reduced lung capacity, and cardiovascular problems that make exercise even more difficult—you may even find yourself giving up on your exercise plan because it feels too difficult.

Quitting Can Help You Manage Your Blood Sugar

Smoking actually increases your blood sugar levels and makes your body less able to use insulin. If you have type 2 diabetes, this means that you’ll have an even harder time managing your blood sugar levels safely.

Tips for Quitting Smoking

Quitting is a lot easier said than done—it requires determination, resolve, and often a support network. Here are some tips on how you can cut back on your habit and maybe even quit altogether.


  • Find a community of friends who lead your ideal lifestyle. Being around other smokers will make quitting much harder.
  • Start by cutting back until you no longer feel the urge to smoke. If you go “cold turkey,” it can be much harder to keep it up.
  • Take it day by day. Don’t say “I’m quitting forever.” Instead, say “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but today I’m only going to smoke this amount.”
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you mess up. You can start again. Many people quit multiple times before it sticks.
  • Find other ways to relax. Get a massage, meditate, do a yoga class.
  • Try nicotine replacement therapy. 
  • Find friends who can support you. Don’t be afraid to speak to family and friends about the difficult times. 
  • Limit your triggers, like alcohol, coffee. If you are used to smoking while drinking, cutting back on alcohol will help you reduce the urge.
  • Find things that you enjoy about not smoking. Invest in a new perfume and enjoy smelling great. Go for a walk and enjoy breathing in the fresh air. 
  • Focus on a hobby that you enjoy instead, like painting, decorating, reading, jogging, and so on. 
  • Exercising can help you get rid of the urge to light up.
  • Reward yourself. Set yourself goals and reward yourself when you go a certain amount of time with smoking. This will help you to keep going. 
  • Be careful not to use food as a substitute, especially if you have type 2 diabetes. Overeating can cause weight gain, which can go on to cause other health complications.

Find Support With CuraLife’s Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together Community

Trying to kick the habit can make you feel pretty isolated. Try connecting with other diabetics who have kicked their smoking habit in the Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together community on Facebook. 


Here, you’ll find tips, opportunities to connect, and a sense of belonging. Get the support and information you need by joining our Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together community.

The CuraLife
Newsletter

Get 5% off your next order when you sign up today for the latest advice, research and exclusive offers

Thanks for Joining!

I agree to CuraLife’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and wish to receive the newsletter