A large body of evidence from epidemiological, case-control, and cohort studies provides extensive documentation of the casual link between smoking and health risks. Some studies have even found that individuals with diabetes have a heightened risk of morbidity and premature death associated with macrovascualr complications among smokers.
India has the second highest diabetes population in the world (61 million) and also ranks second in tobacco users (275 million). Thankappan et al note that there are limited data on smoking cessation among diabetic patients in low- and middle-income countries. In this study, the researchers selected 224 adult male diabetes patients ages 18-years and older and separated them into two intervention groups. Both groups were asked and advised to quit smoking and given educational materials on smoking and diabetes. The second group also received 30 minutes of diabetes-specific counseling from a non-doctor healthcare professional.
Follow-up data were available for 87% of patients at 6 months, and researchers found that the quit rate (abstinence of smoking for at least 7 days) of the second intervention group was 51.8% and approximately 8.6 times higher that that of the first intervention group. Thankappan et al note that this disparity was also found in high-level smokers (as defined by >10 cigarettes/day). The research group concluded that “counseling by a non-doctor health professional was found to be efficacious and has the potential to significantly increase quit rates among diabetes smokers after a strong quit advise by their doctors.”
To read more about this study and to view additional information on late-breaking diabetes abstracts released at the 72nd Scientific Sessions, please visit the American Diabetes Association’s website