Quitting Smoking Significantly Lowers Type-2 Diabetes Risk, Says Joint WHO, IDF, and University of Newcastle Brief

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A recently released brief, collaboratively developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), and the University of Newcastle, highlights a substantial 30-40 per cent reduction in the risk of developing type-2 diabetes upon quitting smoking.


The WHO stated that evidence strongly indicates smoking adversely affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, a key factor in the development of type-2 diabetes—a prevalent chronic disease accounting for over 95 per cent of all diabetes cases globally.


Emphasizing preventability, the WHO identifies contributing factors to type-2 diabetes, including being overweight, lack of physical activity, and genetic predisposition. With an estimated 537 million people currently living with diabetes, the IDF stresses the need for proactive measures, given the disease’s alarming rise, ranking as the ninth highest cause of death worldwide.


The detrimental impact of smoking extends beyond diabetes onset, increasing the risk of related complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, blindness, delayed wound healing, and an elevated risk of lower limb amputations, according to the WHO’s statement.


President of the IDF, Akhtar Hussain, urges individuals to quit smoking, emphasizing its role in reducing diabetes risk and preventing complications. Furthermore, the IDF calls on governments to implement policies discouraging smoking and enforcing smoke-free environments in public spaces.


The WHO underscores that quitting smoking not only lowers diabetes risk but also significantly reduces the likelihood of diabetes-related complications. Ruediger Krech, WHO’s Director of Health Promotion, emphasizes the pivotal role of health professionals in guiding individuals with type-2 diabetes to quit tobacco, while advocating for comprehensive smoke-free regulations in indoor public spaces, workplaces, and public transport as essential safeguards against chronic diseases.

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