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How Much Do You Know About Smoking?

by Joseph Gustaitis

4. FALSE. It might seem surprising, but researchers have learned that smoking actually raises your blood sugar level, which makes it more difficult for you to control your diabetes. Why this should be is uncertain, but it is theorized that nicotine and other ingredients of tobacco smoke make it more difficult for insulin to work properly.

5. C. This is one bit of good news on the smoking front. In May 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report showing that although over 25% of US high school students smoke cigarettes, the smoking rate among them has been falling since 1997. By 2009, the CDC reported only an estimated 19% of high school students smoked. Several factors were cited for the decline, including more effective school-based anti-smoking programs, smoking prevention campaigns in the mass media, and an increase in the cost of cigarettes. However, it seems that a diagnosis of diabetes in an adolescent is not enough to keep that person from taking up the habit. In other words, teens with diabetes still start smoking.

6. D. And it just begins there. Researchers have found some 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. Some of these are not especially dangerous (nitrogen and oxygen, for example), but other ingredients are — for example, formaldehyde, benzene, and hydrogen cyanide. Tobacco smoke contains about 60 known carcinogenic chemicals. Surprisingly, nicotine, although it is toxic and is an irritant, is by itself not a major health hazard for most people. Yet because it is addictive and has a soothing, narcotic effect, it is most likely the major reason that people smoke.

7. TRUE. The British Medical Journal recently published the first study linking maternal smoking and a child’s diabetes, and it showed that the risk of developing diabetes increased over 4.5 times in children of women who smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day compared to women who were nonsmokers. The risk was still substantial in women who smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes a day. In addition, the researchers discovered that children of mothers who smoked were also more likely to become obese. The report suggests that smoking robs the developing fetus of nutrients, causing metabolic abnormalities that last for the child’s entire life.

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