Cigarette smoking is bad for everyone's health. It causes more than 400,000 deaths in the United States every year. One of every five Americans die of cigarette smoking-related causes.

Even in people who don't have diabetes, smoking:


  • doubles the risk of stroke.
  • more than doubles the risk of heart disease.
  • damages and constricts blood vessels, which can lead to poor healing in the feet and legs, and even the need for amputation.
  • increases the chance of pregnancy complications and stillbirth.
  • increases the risk of cancer, including lung cancer and cancer of the bladder, kidney, mouth, throat or stomach.

For people who have diabetes, smoking is even more dangerous. Smoking:

  • increases the already high risk of developing kidney disease and nerve damage.
  • increases the already high risk of dying from a heart attack.
  • raises the risk of needing toes, feet or legs amputated.

While it's not easy to quit smoking, the health benefits are worth it. No matter how long you've smoked, when you stop your health will improve, and you'll decrease your risk of serious health problems.

Written by Bobbie Hasselbring

Reviewed by Beth Seltzer, MD

Last updated June 2008