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Adults who are exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, compared with nonsmokers, a new study suggests.

Researchers examined data from more than 6,300 adults, and found those who were exposed to secondhand smoke also were at higher risk for factors that are associated with the development of diabetes, such as greater insulin resistance, higher levels of fasting blood sugar, and a higher hemoglobin A1c reading—a measure of blood sugar control over the past three months.

People exposed to secondhand smoke also had a higher body-mass index, according to HealthDay. The study, presented at the Endocrine Society’s Annual Meeting, found diabetes rates were similar for smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke.

While other studies have suggested a relationship between Type 2 diabetes and secondhand smoke, they did not verify exposure through blood tests. The current study used blood tests to check for levels of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine.

The study did not prove that secondhand smoke causes diabetes, the researchers noted. They pointed out that the association between secondhand smoke and Type 2 diabetes was not due to obesity. “More studies are needed to show whether secondhand smoke is a cause of diabetes,” study co-author Dr. Theodore Friedman said in a news release.


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