Those who smoke are probably sick of hearing reasons why they shouldn’t. Non-smokers can be judgmental and wonder (sometimes aloud) why someone would pick up such an unhealthy habit.
But the truth is that people start smoking for lots of reasons. Sometimes it’s just a part of the culture of their family or group of friends. Someone might start smoking to better deal with stress or to lose weight. Once someone starts to smoke, it’s hard to quit. Not only are cigarettes physically addictive, but smoking can be a pastime with friends or coworkers, and quitting may have social and emotional consequences. So it’s appropriate to be supportive of those thinking about quitting. It takes courage!
Those with diabetes have extra motivation to quit. Smoking increases insulin resistance and may raise blood glucose and damage blood vessels, which of course compounds the complications that diabetes can cause all on its own.
For George, who has type 1 diabetes, the struggle to leave cigarettes behind was difficult. Being a smoker gave him an identity that he chose for himself, and he preferred being known as a smoker to being known as a diabetic. His wake-up call came when his doctor told him he was risking losing his toes with every cigarette he picked up. The idea of losing his toes inspires him to continue to say no to cigarettes with each new day.
Linda, who has type 2 diabetes, found that giving up cigarettes while learning to manage her diabetes was too much. And she was concerned that giving up smoking would cause her to gain weight. Now she works to take baby steps and reduce her smoking wherever she can.
Quitting smoking is not an easy undertaking, but it is worth it! Watch George and Linda’s stories and let them motivate you to take the next step for better health.
Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.