Secondhand Smoke Leads to Both Obesity and Glucose Abnormalities Paper Accepted in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care

In a paper recently accepted by the prestigious American Diabetes Association journal British Medical Journal (BMJ) Open Diabetes Research & Care entitled “Association between Secondhand Smoke, Obesity and Glucose Abnormalities: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey” (NHANES 1999-2010), faculty members (from left) Deyu Pan, MS, Dulcie Kermah, EdD (first author), Dr. Theodore C. Friedman, and Magda Shaheen, PhD at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science found that secondhand smoke is associated with obesity and diabetes. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care is one of the most of the influential diabetes journals.

While prior studies have shown a positive association between cigarette smoking and the incidence of DM, this is the first paper to show thatcotinine (metabolite of nicotine) level-confirmed secondhand smoke is associated with a higher rate of diabetes as well as obesity. Adjustment for body mass index (BMI) demonstrated that some, but not all of the detrimental effects of secondhand smoke on glycemia are mediated by the increase body weight of secondhand smokers.

“The percentage of participants who were classified as secondhand smokers using racial/ethnic-adjusted cotinine levels decreased between 1999-2000 and 2009-2010 which demonstrates that smoke-free laws are effective and may help decrease the number of Americans who develop obesity and DM as a result of being exposed to SHS,” said Dr. Friedman. “Our study showing the association between cotinine-verified secondhand smokers and worsening of glycemic parameters as well as obesity prompts the need for reliable and cost effective methods for interventions to prevent secondhand smoking including stronger smoke-free laws.”

The paper will be published BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care and available online in February 2017. Funding for this project came fromMIDARP/DIDARP grant R24DA017298, NIH-NIMHD grant U54MD007598 and NIH/NCATS grant UL1TR000124.

For more information contact Theodore C. Friedman, MD, PhD at