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In recognition of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) is urging Canadians who smoke to take immediate action and quit to improve their overall health.

According to the CDA’s Report on Diabetes - Driving Change, not only is smoking dangerous when living with diabetes, recent studies suggest that smoking is an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes and those who smoke 25 or more cigarettes daily have double the diabetes risk of non-smokers.

Harry Flint, 64, quit smoking when he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2001. His main challenge was coming to terms with the actual diagnosis. He decided to face his diabetes and make his life better by eliminating unhealthy lifestyle habits. Harry now lives an active lifestyle, motivates others to live well and has participated in more than 29 Team Diabetes marathons.

“Fifteen years ago when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I had one cigarette before bed and threw what was left in the pack away and promised myself I’d never have another one. This was all part of introducing a healthier lifestyle into my life,” says Harry. “I shed more than 100 lbs since getting into running and I’m now able to exercise without gasping.”

“People with diabetes who use tobacco face greater health risks. Smoking can contribute to hardening of the arteries, which when combined with high blood sugar levels can accelerate the development of diabetes complications,” says Dr. Jan Hux, chief science officer, CDA. “A person living with diabetes who smokes faces three times the risk for heart attack over someone who does not.”

“On World No Tobacco Day, we’re encouraging Canadians to take charge of their health,” says Rick Blickstead, president and CEO, CDA. “Quitting smoking is one of the most important things Canadians can do to live well. It can be overwhelming and may take multiple attempts, but with support and determination, it can be done. No matter how long you have smoked, your health will improve after quitting.”

Making the decision to quit smoking is a huge first step. People who stop smoking often start again because of withdrawal symptoms, stress, and weight gain. Individuals can get the support needed through a smoking cessation program, health-care providers or other resources in the community. For more information, visit

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Region: National

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