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The Great American Smokeout

The Great American Smokeout

No matter how long or how much a person has smoked, quitting will help them get healthier. Each year, the third Thursday of November is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. This day is meant to encourage smokers to quit smoking tobacco and start the journey toward a healthy, smoke-free life. This year’s Smokeout is today, November 18.

Smoking and Diabetes

Smokers have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who smoke cigarettes increase their chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 to 40 percent compared to people who do not smoke.

When people with type 2 diabetes are exposed to high levels of nicotine, insulin (the hormone that lowers blood sugar levels) is less effective. People with diabetes who smoke need larger doses of insulin to control their blood sugar and are more likely to have serious health problems, including:

  • Heart and kidney disease,
  • Poor blood flow in the legs and feet that can lead to foot infections, ulcers, and possible amputation of toes or feet,
  • Retinopathy (an eye disease that can cause blindness), and
  • Peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves to the arms and legs that cause numbness, pain, weakness, and poor coordination).

Although it is not known exactly which smoker will develop type 2 diabetes, it is imperative that diabetic smokers quit smoking or using any type of tobacco product.

Your Employee Assistance Program Can Help!

Quitting is hard, but the good news is there are many resources available to help. All Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) plans offer 100 percent coverage to help you quit smoking. FEHB tobacco cessation benefits cover all approved tobacco cessation medications and up to four tobacco cessation counseling sessions per year.

Your Component Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is also available to help you quit smoking. For more information, contact your Component EAP or send an email to the DHS Work-Life team at worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

For additional resources and information about quitting smoking, visit the CDC’s Quit Smoking website.

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