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'Passive smoking may make you diabetic'

Second-hand smoke not only affects your lungs but may also make you diabetic, says a US study.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2006 13:24 IST

Second-hand smoke not only affects your lungs but may also make you diabetic, suggests a new US study.

Passive smoking has been associated with heart disease and cancer, but no studies had revealed its association with diabetes.

Dr Thomas Houston, an assistant professor of medicine in the University of Alabama, and a researcher at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Centre studied more than 4,500 American men and women and said it might also increase the risk of diabetes, reported the health portal HealthDay News.

According to them, exposure to second-hand smoke was measured in two ways. "One was self reports of being around second-hand smoke and the second was measurements of blood levels of cotinine, a breakdown product of nicotine."

The 15-year study found that the incidence of glucose intolerance - a precursor to diabetes in which the pancreas can no longer produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar - was directly related to exposure to tobacco smoke.

Smokers had the highest risk of glucose intolerance, with 22 per cent of them developing the condition. But 17 per cent of those who never smoked but were exposed to second-hand smoke developed the condition, a rate higher than the 14 per cent found in smokers who gave up the habit, the researchers said.

Only 12 per cent of people who never smoked developed glucose intolerance.

The finding of the study, which appeared in the April 8 issue of the British Medical Journal, also reveals that whites were more susceptible to this effect than blacks.