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December 4, 2000

Daily Care

Question from Murray, Kentucky, USA:

I have type 2 diabetes and try to take care of myself. I have never smoked. However, I am in some situations in our Union Hall where everyone is smoking, and I am breathing it in. What are the effects of second-hand smoke on people with diabetes? Is this more detrimental to me than to someone who does not have diabetes? If so, tell me why. I would like to discuss this with the powers that be so that we might go to a non-smoking policy.


From: DTeam Staff

Second hand smoke exposure isn’t good for anyone. Smoke exposure isn’t specifically worse for people with diabetes. Common courtesy would suggest that smoking not occur with other people who do not want such exposure. In most airlines, movie theaters and public places such as restaurants, smoking is not allowed so this might be discussed with your union leaders. If they are smokers, they may not listen. If enough of your fellow members do not want smoking allowed, a petition to this effect would go a long way towards convincing the leaders to change the rules in the union hall. If all else fails, consider some democratic lobbying of your leaders, changing the rules and regulations, electing new leaders, hanging posters, picketing, etc.

Additional comments from :

You have plenty of ammunition to bring to the table when talking about detrimental effects of second-hand smoke. I am not aware of a study which demonstrates that people with diabetes are different than people without diabetes for this particular issue. Please contact the American Lung Association to provide yourself with good information before discussing this issues with your bosses and peers. I am sure they will give you good ammunition.

Additional comments from Dr. Kenneth Robertson:

Secondary smoking or ‘passive’ smoking is known to be harmful. People with diabetes are more prone to heart disease than those without diabetes and smoking increases the likelihood of heart disease. Therefore, it would be reasonable to argue that passive smoking is more dangerous for people with diabetes. However, the risk is hugely smaller than smoking directly.