July 20, 1999
Question from Estes Park, Colorado, USA:
My granddaughter, born 4 years ago, was diagnosed with Type 1 at 22 months. Her parents and her grandmother (who babysits) smoke continuously. She is exposed to second-hand smoke 24 hours a day. I have been unable to get through to them. We all know smoking is bad, but for a toddler with type 1 diabetes it must be especially bad to be exposed to second-hand smoke. Can you can provide me with results of a study or any other “official” warning?
There have been several publications that document the threat of second-hand smoke to respiratory health in children and some less convincing ones that would include a predisposition to otitis media. I can find no reference specially on children with diabetes, nor do I know of any ‘official’ warnings that are specific to this group.
Clearly nicotine addiction is an important health hazard in your immediate family and I don’t think that you yourself are likely to have much effect on this. It can be surmounted though, as I know from experience with my own children, and my suggestion would be to see if either your own doctor or the State Health Department can help them to enroll in a counselling program.