(HealthDay News) – Secondhand smoke exposure, in childhood or adulthood, is associated with an increased rate of type 2 diabetes in women, according to a study published online June 11 in Diabetes Care.

Martin Lajous, MD, ScD, from the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico City, and colleagues analyzed data from 37,343 French women participating in a European study who had never smoked and were free of type 2 diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular disease at baseline (1992). The correlation between childhood and adult secondhand smoke exposure and type 2 diabetes was assessed.

From 1992–2007, the researchers identified and validated 795 cases of incident type 2 diabetes. Compared with women with parents who did not smoke, those with at least one parent who smoked had a significantly higher rate of type 2 diabetes (age-adjusted hazard ratio, 1.18). After adjustment for parental history of diabetes, education, childhood secondhand smoke exposure, body mass index, and other confounding variables, adult secondhand smoke exposure (no exposure vs. ≥4 hours per day) correlated with a significantly increased rate of type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio, 1.36).

“This prospective analysis suggests that secondhand smoke exposure in childhood and adulthood is associated with a higher rate of type 2 diabetes,” the authors write. “Curbing the worldwide type 2 diabetes epidemic requires extensive and lasting changes in public policy. Limiting secondhand smoke exposure by providing smoke-free environments and improving compliance with smoking bans may be an important strategy.”

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