Tobacco and chronic disease

Tobacco use damages virtually every organ of the body and causes disease and early death. Minnesotans use less tobacco than the national average. However, use is high in certain populations, including those with other chronic health conditions. Patients with diabetes or heart disease who use tobacco may find it harder to manage their disease. Tobacco use can further reduce quality of life for people already facing the challenges of chronic diseases.

Tobacco and diabetes in Minnesota

Tobacco and diabetes in Minnesota

Existing evidence demonstrates that smoking cigarettes may be a risk for developing diabetes. Smoking makes it harder for the body to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. ClearWay Minnesota contracted with MN Community Measurement (MNCM) to analyze the data about Minnesotans with diabetes who used tobacco.  Data came from 2011 clinic- and patient-level optimal diabetes measures collected by MNCM from Minnesota health care providers. Download the brief: Tobacco Use in Minnesota Patients with Diabetes (PDF). Key findings included:

  • There are more Minnesota adults with diabetes who also use tobacco (28,700 people) than there are people in the city of Winona, MN. Overall, about 182,000 Minnesota adults have diabetes, and almost 16 percent use tobacco.
  • The average age of an adult diabetes patient in Minnesota who uses tobacco is almost 54 years old.
  • Adults with diabetes who are enrolled in state government programs (one way of understanding poverty) are twice as likely to use tobacco as people who have commercial/private insurance (26.7 percent vs. 13.6 percent).
  • Younger men with diabetes living in non-metro areas are more likely to use tobacco.
  • Adults with diabetes who use tobacco also tend to have problems managing other aspects of their diabetes. They may have higher A1C levels, blood pressure above 140/90, or LDL cholesterol above 100.

Tobacco and vascular disease in Minnesota

Tobacco and vascular disease in Minnesota

ClearWay Minnesota contracted with MNCM to study Minnesotans with ischemic vascular disease (IVD) who used tobacco.  Data came from 2011 clinic- and patient-level optimal vascular measures collected by MNCM from Minnesota health care providers. Download the brief: Tobacco Use in Minnesota Patients with Ischemic Vascular Disease (PDF). Key findings included:

  • About 80,791 Minnesota adults have IVD. Approximately 16.1 percent of them use tobacco. Those 13,000 people represent the same population as the entire city of Bemidji.
  • The average age of a Minnesotan with IVD who uses tobacco is 60 years old.
  • Adults with IVD who are enrolled in state government programs (one way of understanding poverty) are significantly more likely to use tobacco than people who have commercial/private insurance (28 percent vs. 16 percent).
  • Younger women with IVD living in non-metro areas are more likely to use tobacco.
  • Adults with IVD who use tobacco tend to have problems managing other aspects of their health. Examples include having blood pressure higher than 140/90 and LDL cholesterol higher than 100.

Tobacco and asthma

Tobacco and asthma

The link between asthma and tobacco is well-established. In Minnesota, about 12 percent of people with asthma smoke, even though cigarette smoke is known to trigger asthma attacks. Smoking and breathing secondhand smoke can trigger asthma episodes and increase the severity of attacks.  Secondhand smoke is also a risk factor for new cases of asthma.

Tobacco and mental illness

Tobacco and mental illness

Tobacco use among adults with any diagnosis of mental illness has been found to be higher than for people with no diagnosis. Whether tobacco use can cause some mental conditions, such as depression, is unclear, but depression is a risk factor for smoking.

  • People with depression have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  • Depression is also associated with adverse health behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, physical inactivity and sleep disturbance.

The health benefits of quitting

The health benefits of quitting

Quitting tobacco improves a patient’s health almost immediately.

  • By not smoking during a 20-minute clinic visit, a patient’s blood pressure and pulse rate decrease.
  • In 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal.
  • Within 48 hours, both the sense of taste and the sense of smell improve.
  • Within three months, lung function begins to improve.
  • Within nine months, patients cough less and experience less shortness of breath.
  • In 12 months, the risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.
  • In one year, a pack-a-day smoker will save more than $2,000.
  • In five years, risk of a stroke has dramatically decreased.

 See more of the Spotlight on Tobacco