By now, most people know that inhaling a lot of secondhand smoke is just as bad--and, in some respects, even worse--than smoking yourself. And this is underscored by a recent study to be presented at the Endocrine Socety’s annual meeting at Houston, which found that people who frequently inhale secondhand smoke are more likely to get type 2 diabetes or become obese than non-smokers.

Researchers studied data from more than 6,300 people who participated in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2001 to 2006 and found that compared to non-smokers, those who were exposed to secondhand smoke had a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, they also appeared to have a bigger body mass index and a higher measure of insulin resistance, higher levels of fasting blood sugar, and a higher hemoglobin A1c reading (a measure of blood sugar control over the past three months). Secondhand smokers and smokers may have similar diabetes rates, but of the two, smokers generally had lower BMI (Body Mass Index) results.

There appears to be no direct cause-and-effect relationship between secondhand smoke and diabetes, but more research needs to be done on the subject. At the moment, the findings have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal and should be considered preliminary. In the meantime, you may want to try to avoid places with a lot of secondhand smoke and refuse to let others smoke in your home.

(Photo by Shannon Holman via Flickr Creative Commons)

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