Secondhand smoke linked to type 2 diabetes

June 26, 2012 at 7:05 PM

HOUSTON, June 26 (UPI) -- Adults exposed to secondhand smoke have higher rates type 2 diabetes than non-smokers not exposed to smoke, U.S. researchers say.

Study co-author Dr. Theodore C. Friedman of Charles R. Drew University, Los Angeles, and colleagues used serum cotinine levels -- measures of exposure to tobacco smoke -- to verify passive smoking.

The researchers examined data from more than 6,300 adults who participated from 2001 to 2006 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population.

Smokers, who made up 25 percent of the sample, were defined for the study as having a serum cotinine level greater than 3 nanograms per milliliter. Non-smokers, 41 percent of the sample, were those who answered "no" to the question "Do you smoke cigarettes?" and who had a cotinine level below 0.05 ng/mL.

Participants who answered "no" to the question of smoking, but whose cotinine level was above 0.05 ng/mL were defined as secondhand "smokers," or 34 percent.

After factoring for age, sex, race, alcohol consumption and physical activity, the researchers found secondhand smokers, when compared with non-smokers, had a higher measure of insulin resistance, a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes. They also had higher levels of fasting blood sugar and a higher hemoglobin A1c, a measure of blood sugar control.

"This finding also showed that the association between secondhand smoke and type 2 diabetes was not due to obesity," Friedman said in a statement.

The findings were presented at The Endocrine Society's 94th annual meeting in Houston.

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