Where There’s Smoke … Second and Third Hand Smoke & Diabetes

By DeAnna Pearl, MAT, BS, CPS, SOS Tillamook Prevention Program, Tillamook Family Counseling Center

“I have diabetes but I don’t smoke – how does smoking impact me?”  Most everyone is aware of “second-hand smoke.” Second-hand smoke is the byproduct of the act of smoking made up of particulates of ash and dust that holds up to 4,000 chemicals, including nicotine, which is inhaled by others.

But what about “Third-hand smoke” — what’s that? Third-hand smoke is the ash and dust that holds up to the same 4,000 chemicals, including nicotine, that gets absorbed into the surface of other materials such as walls, clothing, and floors. These are slowly released back into the air of your home and can enter the body through direct contact.

According to Prof. Manuella Martins- Green, UC Riverside CA, “Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to Third-Hand Smoke (THS) and its impact on health.  Because infants frequently crawl on carpets and touch objects exposed to exhaled smoke, they are at high risk for THS exposure.  The elderly are at high risk simply because older organs are more susceptible to disease.”  While the toxic byproducts of the act of smoking are dangerous, the chemical nicotine causes arteries to constrict, reducing blood flow.

This is especially serious for people who have diabetes. Complications from diabetes include being vulnerable to peripheral vascular disease or narrowing of blood vessels that carry blood to the body’s extremities, such as arms, hands, legs and feet. There is danger of a blood clot blocking a narrowed artery, and the result could be damage to or the loss of an arm or leg. Exposure to nicotine, in any form, is a major risk factor of peripheral vascular disease and more severely for smokers than nonsmokers.  Diabetics who smoke or who are exposed to second/third hand smoke are twice as likely to develop this disease and increase dramatically their chances of amputation.

The good news is that when smokers quit, symptoms improve immediately, restoring blood flow to the body’s extremities.  And in cases where surgery is needed, it’s more likely to be successful in people who’ve stopped smoking!

Thinking about quitting?  Setting a date is a great first step – Kick Butts Day in March is a national day to encourage smoking cessation and, in particular, to end youth smoking.  There is help. Ask your doctor about cessation resources covered by insurance. There are also free, effective programs through the Oregon Quit Line at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669), or www.quitnow.net/oregon.

For local programs and classes, contact SOS Tillamook Prevention Program at 503-815-5426, or www.sostillamook.og.

For more on this subject go to “Where there’s Smoke, There’s Diabetes”


“Thirdhand Smoke Linked to Type 2 Diabetes.” – https://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/35360

For more health tips and information about local wellness partners, visit tillamookcountyhealthmatters.org or find us on Facebook at Tillamook County Wellness.


Share this Post!

About the Author : Michelle