Many young diabetics smoke, few doctors warn them of the consequences

Smoking is known to dramatically increase an individual's risk of heart disease. However, the problem is even more severe if that person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Despite this danger, many with the disease continue to use tobacco.

In fact, a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that few healthcare providers are counseling their diabetic patients about the dangers that cigarette smoke poses to their heart health.

Researchers from the SEARCH Study Group surveyed more than 3,000 individuals between the ages of 10 and 22 who had type 1 or type 2 diabetes. They found that 10 percent of those with type 1 reported using tobacco, while 16 percent of participants with type 2 diabetes used tobacco. Less than half of respondents said that their care provider had ever counseled them on the dangers of smoking.

"We found a substantial proportion of youth with diabetes are current cigarette smokers, which greatly adds to their already elevated risk for heart disease," said the study's lead author Kristi Reynolds. "Smoking is preventable, so aggressive smoking prevention and cessation programs are needed to prevent or delay heart disease in youth with diabetes."

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