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From Texas, USA:

I have a 19 year old son who has had diabetes since he was 2 years old. In the last few years he has acquired the bad habit of "dipping" brands of chewing tobacco. When he is using this a lot, it seems his blood sugars are much higher and harder if not impossible to get within a good range. When he goes for a long period of time not using the chewing tobacco, his blood sugars are much lower and easy to control. Is this a coincidence or does chewing tobacco affect his blood sugars? We cannot seem to find any information on this. We have been trying for a long time to get him off this stuff. Any advice?


Chewing tobacco is a form of nicotine addiction that can be locally carcinogenic. Apart from modest promotion of fat utilisation, there is little effect on metabolism generally and none particularly on glucose metabolism. There is however both an effect on appetite as well as from the stresses of withdrawal and family disapproval which may effect blood sugars.

For treatment, there have been trials of nicotine patches, nicotine chewing gum, nasal sprays and inhalers. Mecamylamine and clonidine have been tried as drugs. All of these are supposed to be administered under the direction of a physician; but as with most of these situations any permanent relief is most likely to be achieved in a center with experience in the problem.


Original posting 13 Nov 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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