Media Release - No better time to quit than now: World No Tobacco Day 2010

Canadian Diabetes Association urges Canadians living with diabetes who smoke to take measures to quit to improve overall health

TORONTO, May 27 /CNW/ - Smoking while having diabetes is a deadly combination - in recognition of the World Health Organization's (WHO) World No Tobacco Day taking place on May 31, 2010, the Canadian Diabetes Association is urging Canadians living with diabetes who smoke to take charge of their health by knowing their risks and to take action to quit smoking.

Each year, an estimated 45,000 Canadians die of smoking-related illnesses.(1) Canadians living with diabetes who smoke are three times more likely to have a heart attack than people with diabetes who don't smoke. In a similar way that high blood glucose levels affect the body, the chemicals in cigarette smoke attack blood vessels, accelerating atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which impairs the blood's ability to carry oxygen to the tissues.

"I knew smoking was so horrifically bad to begin with, and I knew that having diabetes increased the adverse risks, but I didn't know to what extent," said Michèle Blackstock, who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 10 years and has been smoke free for 1 year after smoking for 16 years. "It was only after learning more about how diabetes affects my body that I came to a full understanding and began trying to quit seriously."

An online public opinion poll conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion on behalf of the Canadian Diabetes Association recently uncovered that 60% of respondents living with diabetes who smoke are not aware smoking has an impact on their diabetes and 57% say their diagnosis with diabetes does not impact their smoking behaviour.(3) In addition, 59% of respondents do not think their diabetes makes them any more susceptible to adverse symptoms than other smokers who do not have diabetes.

"The combination of high blood glucose and smoking dramatically increases damage to the blood vessels that feed the heart, brain, eyes, kidneys and peripheral nerves," informs Dr. Vincent Woo, Chair, Clinical and Scientific Section, Canadian Diabetes Association. "Quitting smoking is one of the most important things people living with diabetes can do to help prevent or delay the onset of complications."

"I've succeeded. I've found a way to break all my smoking routines and I'm making new ones that I like and that I'm able to maintain," says Blackstock. "It's been a hard process, but I feel great knowing that I've done something to decrease my chance of diabetes-related complications."

The WHO's World No Tobacco Day 2010 will place an emphasis on the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls as the epidemic of tobacco use among them is increasing in some countries.(2)

Visit diabetes.ca/smoking for more information, tips and resources to help you quit smoking.

About the Canadian Diabetes Association

Across the country, the Canadian Diabetes Association is leading the fight against diabetes by helping people with diabetes live healthy lives while we work to find a cure. We are supported in our efforts by a community-based network of volunteers, employees, healthcare professionals, researchers and partners. By providing education and services, advocating on behalf of people with diabetes, supporting research and translating research into practical applications - we are delivering on our mission. For more information, please visit diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

(1) Canadian Diabetes Association, http://www.diabetes.ca/about-diabetes/living/management/smoking/, July 2008.

(2) World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/tobacco/wntd/2010/announcement/, December 2009.

(3) Public Opinion Poll Methodology: From April 16 to April 21, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 402 randomly selected Canadian adults who smoke and are living with diabetes. Participants were recruited from the Angus Reid Forum. The margin of error - which measures sampling variability - is +/- 4.9%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a reprehensive sample.

SOURCE Canadian Diabetes Association

For further information: For further information: Randi Garcha, Manager, National Media Relations & External Communications, Canadian Diabetes Association, Tel: (416) 408-7071, randi.garcha@diabetes.ca

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