Do you have diabetes? Do you smoke? If so, then this blog post is for you! If you are diabetic, smoking is a no-no. Smoking affects your health in many ways and can be fatal. Smoking has been linked to cancer but it also causes other health problems. In fact, smoking can make a diabetic's condition worse over time and can lead to complications like heart disease and kidney disease.

In this Diabetic & Me article you will learn about:

  • Why is smoking bad for diabetics?
  • 7 reasons why smoking is bad
  • 7 benefits for diabetics who have given up smoking 

Why is smoking bad for diabetics?

There are many reasons why people with diabetes should quit smoking - in addition to the well-known ones like preventing lung cancer and not being able to breathe easily.

Smoking and diabetes are both serious health issues. Smoking is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, specifically because it can reduce the body's sensitivity to insulin. New research shows that people with diabetes no longer react appropriately when exposed to insulin. When your cells do not respond properly to this hormone, a hormone designed by our pancreas and vital for balancing out levels of glucose in our system, you may develop high-levels of glucose in your bloodstream. This could lead to complications like nerve damage or kidney failure down the road if left untreated.

If you have diabetes, the risk of cardiovascular disease is already increased by the disease itself. If you then add in smoking to this equation, your odds for developing heart problems just went up significantly.

Seven reasons why smoking when you diabetes is bad

Smoking causes many health problems. In fact, smoking can make a diabetic's condition worse over time and can lead to complications like heart disease and kidney disease. There are many reasons why people with diabetes should quit smoking. Below you can find seven reason why smoking is bad and you should stop now. While you still can!

1. Nerve damage

Smoking can also be detrimental to your peripheral nervous system, which is the nerves that make up your feet. If these nerves are not getting enough nutrients from circulation because of smoking it can lead to sores and infections or even amputation in extreme cases if left untreated for a long time. This can eventually leed to serious foot problems or neuropathy.

2. Joint pain

You may notice that your joints are feeling more stiff and limited after a cigarette, but you might not know why. The nicotine in cigarettes can make it harder for the body to produce healthy cells called chondrocytes which help keep up joint mobility. So those who smoke will have an increased risk of developing arthritis or other conditions with symptoms like stiffness or pain from their joints. When smoking tobacco products one has higher risks of getting rheumatoid arthritis.

3. Kidney disease

If you smoke, then your kidneys could develop disease. This is an especially serious issue for those with diabetes as it can lead to kidney failure and even death.

4. Elevated blood pressure

Smoking cigarettes can cause your blood pressure to rise and increase the risk of heart disease. This is a real concern for people who are diabetic, as they already have an increased chance of cardiovascular issues.

5. Cardiovascular disease

Researchers have found that people with diabetes who smoke are 3 times as likely to die of heart and cardiovascular disease. Your veins will clog more quickly and this increases the risk of a heart attack even more.

6. Higher blood sugar levels

Smoking has been linked to diabetes. The nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes cause the body's insulin levels to rise, which makes it difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels because they have a higher chance of unpredictably fluctuating glucose. This can lead you on a path towards more problems such as heart disease or kidney failure.

7. Increased cholesterol levels

It's not just fatty food that increases your cholesterol levels, it's also smoking cigarettes. It doesn't matter what you do in life if this is a habit of yours -- the risk for heart disease will still be increased significantly.

Even though it may seem harmless to smoke just one cigarette, these small choices add up over time leading many people into very unhealthy lifestyles that lead towards early death from chronic disease such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Benefits for diabetics who have given up smoking

When you stop smoking you have the chance that some of the already damaged 

1. Healthier cardiovascular system

No more smoking means a healthier cardiovascular system, which reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

2. Prevent kidney failure

It also prevents kidney failure since quitting smoking can help improve control over blood sugar levels as well as lower the amount of insulin needed to keep them within normal ranges. 

3. Less stress on the lungs

There is less stress on your lungs because you are no longer breathing in secondhand smoke or other toxins that come with tobacco products. Plus, this gives diabetics better oxygen absorption when they breathe deeply without cigarettes filling their lungs. 

4. Improve taste

People who have diabetes may not be able to taste food like they used to before quitting smoking and this might lead them to enjoy meals more!


Smoking is bad for diabetes. You can get a stroke or kidney failure. This blog post has provided you with information on the dangers of smoking, as well as resources to help make quitting easier and more successful. The conclusion we hope you walk away from this article with is that never start smoking or stop smoking if you are currently a smoker because it's horrible for your health in so many ways!

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville and I am the founder of Diabetic & Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996 I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I am currently using a Medtronic Guardian 4 and a Minimed 780G insulin pump with Humalog.

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