Active or passive exposure to nicotine from tobacco smoke increases the risk of having high blood sugar and diabetes

Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, December 2018, Volume 1, #36

Human beings need energy to perform their daily functions. Liver, muscles and fats cells, for example, help in the production of energy. The “raw material” for the energy production in the cells is mainly glucose. Glucose is constantly being injected into human blood through a digestion process. So, how does glucose get to the cells? Glucose in human blood is channelled into the cells by insulin attached to the surfaces of the cells. Basically, insulin opens the “doors” for glucose to get to the cells for energy production. Insulin also channels glucose into fat cells for storage. The stored glucose is called glycogen. Basically, insulin ensures that the “raw material” needed for human energy production is always available. In essence, insulin regulates the amount of glucose in the blood and transfer them to where they will provide value to human.

So what happens if insulin malfunction? Insulin will find it difficult to open the channel for glucose to be transferred into the cells for energy production. The inability of insulin to open the channel is called insulin resistance. When resistance is high, a lesser amount of glucose will find their way to the cells. Thus, the amount of glucose in the human body will continue to build until it becomes very high, especially with a constant injection of glucose into human blood through the digestion process.

So what causes insulin resistance? Evidence in the literature suggests that exposure to nicotine from tobacco smoke, through active and passive – secondhand and third-hand smoking, is a major contributor to insulin resistance occurrence. This means effort should be made to reduce human exposure to tobacco smoke in an indoor and outdoor environment. This is even more important for people consuming a high amount of sugar on a daily basis.

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Do you want to know more about this topic? Read ATTVALL et. al. (1993), Eliasson (2003), Facchini et. al. (1992) and Lajous et al. (2013) papers.

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