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Smoking among children, teens with diabetes on the rise

PASADENA, Calif. — A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that the use of tobacco products among young diabetics is on the rise, and many haven't been counseled by their healthcare providers to not smoke or stop smoking.

The study, which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that among 3,466 children and young adults with diabetes — ages 10 to 22 years old — 10% of Type 1 diabetics and 16% of Type 2 diabetics currently were using some form of tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars or smokeless tobacco. Less than half of the respondents reported that they had been advised by their healthcare provider to not smoke or stop smoking.

And while smoking touts its own health risks, the study found that the diabetic smokers surveyed showed early signs of cardiovascular disease. Young people who were past and current smokers had a higher prevalence of high triglyceride levels, high LDL cholesterol levels, low HDL cholesterol levels and more physical inactivity than nonsmokers, the study authors noted.

"We found a substantial proportion of youth with diabetes are current cigarette smokers, which greatly adds to their already elevated risk for heart disease," said study lead author Kristi Reynolds, a research scientist and epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation. "Smoking is preventable, so aggressive smoking prevention and cessation programs are needed to prevent or delay heart disease in youth with diabetes."

The findings were based on analysis of data from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study, a large multicenter study of youth diagnosed with diabetes before the age of 20 years who were enrolled by six clinical centers in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington.

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