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Second hand smoke linked to obesity

Adults who are exposed to second hand smoke are at similar risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and obesity as smokers, according to a new study. Based on an examination of the health of more than 6300 people, the study found that in addition to an increased risk of diabetes and obesity, people exposed to second hand smoke also had elevated insulin resistance, higher levels of fasting blood sugar, and a higher haemoglobin A1c reading.

15 Jul 2012

Adults who are exposed to second hand smoke are at similar risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and obesity as smokers, according to a new study.

Based on an examination of the health of more than 6300 people, the study found that in addition to an increased risk of diabetes and obesity, people exposed to second hand smoke also had elevated insulin resistance, higher levels of fasting blood sugar, and a higher haemoglobin A1c reading.

The study, presented to US Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, found that the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes for people exposed to second hand smoke was the similar to that of smokers. Interestingly, the study also found that smokers were more likely to have a lower Body Mass Index than non-smokers.

Lead researcher Dr Theodore Friedman said the study showed that the association between second hand smoke and Type 2 diabetes was not due to obesity, though he added more research was needed to show whether second hand smoke is a cause of diabetes.

Dr Friedman said that more effort needed to be made to reduce the exposure of individuals to second hand smoke.

The findings highlight the AMA’s longstanding concerns regarding the risk to health from tobacco smoke and its push for smoke-free workplaces and public areas.

SmokeFree Australia – a coalition of organisations for the promotion for tobacco free workplaces, which includes the AMA – has called for governments to end smoke free law exemptions and loopholes in order to protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke in workplaces.

Co-ordinator of the coalition, Stafford Sanders, said that in some states workers still face preventable exposure to second hand smoke and risk significant and permanent damage to their health.

Workplaces where employees are still exposed to second hand smoke include;

  • fully enclosed high roller gaming rooms (NSW, VIC, QLD, WA, NT);
  • outdoor or partly enclosed public drinking and dining areas (NSW, VIC, SA); and
  • prisons, custodial and mental health settings

KW


Published: 15 Jul 2012