Can E-Cigarettes Cause Prediabetes?   

Can E-Cigarettes Cause Prediabetes?

person smoking

July 01, 2022

Clinical Contributors to this story:
Colette M. Knight M.D.

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are relatively new devices, and many of their long-term health effects are unknown. Some believe that using e-cigarettes - also known as vaping- is safer than traditional cigarettes, but a growing number of studies has revealed their negative health effects. 

“When someone vapes, they inhale a number of harmful substances, which may lead to health problems in the lungs and other systems within the body,” says Colette M. Knight, M.D., chair of the Inserra Family Diabetes Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Every year that passes, we learn more information about the dangers of vaping.”

Studies show E-cigarettes lead to increased risk for prediabetes

A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found a link between e-cigarette usage and prediabetes, which often precedes diabetes. Researchers from Peking University in China and Johns Hopkins University in Maryland scoured the health records of more than 600,000 Americans for information about e-cigarette usage and pre-diabetes diagnosis. The study found that e-cigarette users were at increased risk of developing prediabetes.

Prediabetes is a condition where the blood-sugar levels are higher than normal, but they’re not quite high enough to be considered diabetes.

The number of people who have been diagnosed with prediabetes has risen significantly in recent years thus increasing the risk for progression to diabetes. During the same time frame, a growing number of people have begun vaping which raises a concern about vaping as a risk for developing diabetes  

“Other research has shown that the nicotine in traditional cigarettes causes insulin resistance and prevents glucose uptake in the cells in the body, therefore increasing a smokers’ risk of prediabetes or diabetes. It is likely that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes may have the same effect on insulin,” says Dr. Knight. 

“More research is needed to confirm a strong cause and effect between vaping and prediabetes, but the bottom line is, smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping, all have a negative impact on your health overall,” she adds.

How to quit using e-cigarettes

To reduce your risk of prediabetes and protect your health from other unknown risks, consider quitting e-cigarettes. There are programs available to help you quit vaping, just like traditional programs that help people quit smoking cigarettes. To increase your odds of quitting:

  • Visit to learn more about the dangers of vaping and different ways to quit. 
  • Talk to a live person at a smokers quitline.
    • Hackensack Meridian Health’s New Jersey Quit Center offers individual counseling by phone, virtual platforms and text messaging, and will mail Nicotine Replacement Therapies to clients. Call 551-996-1632 to speak with a specialist or email:
    • Calling 800-QUIT-NOW should connect you with your state’s quitline. The National Cancer Institute has its own quitline: Call 877-44U-QUIT
  • Tell a supportive friend or relative that you’re planning to quit. Talking about your intentions may help you move forward with your goal.
  • Start using an app that’s intended to help you quit smoking or vaping.
  • Get more exercise, and try to fill your day with positive activities that may distract you when you want to vape.
  • Think about the reasons why you want to quit and how your life will improve when you do.

“The sooner that you can stop vaping, the healthier you should be,” says Dr. Knight. “Quitting may help to lower your risk of prediabetes, among other health complications.”

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


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