Smoking contributes to or directly causes a number of health issues. Diabetes is certainly an issue for those who have type one or type two diabetes as smoking and diabetes do not work well together. We look at this issue more closely and think about how quitting smoking or switching to e cigarettes and e liquids could be a better alternative.
The Damaging Effects of Smoking
According to the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention US) smoking is the cause of the most preventable deaths in the whole of America. With nearly a half a million deaths per year in the USA alone, that adds up to more preventable death than those caused by car accidents, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, HIV and gun-related death combined. It is safe to say that the damaging effects of smoking are for many, ultimately, premature death.
The World Health Organisation agrees that smoking causes premature death. They (WHO) have classified a number of the chemicals within tobacco cigarettes as being toxic and tobacco smoke as having the potential for causing cancer. Smoking increases the risk of a number of cancers, lung-related illnesses, strokes and makes existing conditions worse. Smoking and diabetes, for example, does not make a good combination.
Why is Smoking and Diabetes So Bad?
Again, according to the CDC, smokers can be as much as forty per cent more likely to develop type two diabetes than non-smokers are. Indeed, the more you smoke the higher that risk is. In addition to this, those who have type one or type two diabetes may be at risk of further complications if they smoke.
Regardless of the type of diabetes a person has, there is the potential for serious and long-lasting health issues or side-effects/complications that are caused by a lack of diabetic control and other condition-specific factors. These include (but are not limited to) having a higher risk of having a stroke, developing heart problems, kidney issues and even erectile dysfunction. Smoking when diabetic increases those risks even further.
Smoking and diabetes is a dangerous combination and can quickly cause additional problems for those who are already having to deal with health issues.
What To Do When Giving Up Smoking is Too Hard
Giving up smoking can be difficult. Whereas some might say all you need is willpower that isn't always the case or enough. Smoking is not one habit, it is numerous habits. You get used to having something in your hand, bringing the cigarette up to your mouth, inhaling and exhaling and more. Smoking offers relaxation to many and people do enjoy it. On top of this, you have nicotine which is a known addictive substance. Trying to shake off all of these factors and quit smoking cold turkey is incredibly difficult so hands up to anyone who achieves it and stays smoke free. What is there was an easier way?
Nicotine replacement therapy is offered by NHS stop smoking services, often alongside group therapy or similar which is aimed at helping you reduce nicotine cravings and be motivated to continue with a smoke-free life. While NRT works for some it doesn't for others and that is where vaping comes in.
When you switch to vaping you walk away from the chemicals and nasties in tobacco cigarettes but continue to enjoy the other aspects of your previous hobby. Vaping has successfully helped may smokers give up tobacco cigs for good. You still enjoy the social experience of vaping, have something in your hand and take similar hand to mouth and inhale/exhale actions. You don't leave behind so many things when you switch which makes it easier to avoid sliding back into your previously harmful habit.
Vaping and Diabetes
Vaping is not the same as smoking. When you choose to switch to vaping nothing in burnt therefore you are not breathing in any smoke. The e liquids which are heated via a lithium battery in order to produce a flavoured vapour contain few ingredients. If you look at the label on an e juice bottle you will see that it contains nicotine (or not, more on this below), base liquids such as propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin and flavourings. As such, there is no data or evidence which suggests that vaping and diabetes is anything like smoking and diabetes. Indeed, many health professionals would prefer their diabetic patients to switch the vaping instead of choosing to continue to smoke.
Public Health England has made it very clear that they support vaping as a valid alternative to smoking. In their 2018 review, they reported that they find vaping to be at least 95% less harmful than smoking. It stands to reason therefore that moving over to e cigarettes is substantially better for you than smoking and diabetes combined is. Vaping does not contribute to vaping-related complications as smoking does.
Those concerned with nicotine intake after moving over to vaping will no doubt rejoice to hear that reducing nicotine levels is fairly simple. Unlike with tobacco cigarettes, e liquids come with varying different nicotine strengths. Nicotine in e cigarettes often helps smokers to successfully switch as they are not fighting nicotine withdrawal. Once switched vapers are free to reduce their nicotine strength gradually all the way down to zero as there are many zero nicotine flavoured e liquids to choose from.
So Is Vaping with Diabetes Better than Smoking and Diabetes
Vaping is certainly useful in terms of helping smokers give up tobacco cigarettes. This is important as smoking has been shown to harm all smokers and contribute to diabetic complications. From this point of view, health professionals would much prefer that diabetics choose e cigarettes over tobacco cigarettes.
Is vaping better for you than smoking if you are a diabetic? We think the question could be framed a little differently. Smoking is certainly not good for anyone. Vaping is the better alternative.
Remembering that diabetes for one person does not necessarily look the same as it does for another. If you are a diabetic smoker thinking about moving over to vaping check with your diabetic team first for any tips, tricks or general advice.