Who remembers cloves? Ooh, I am so dating myself. I think that song 1985 may have been inspired by me. Anyhoo, I noticed that the other big campaign underway among the diabetes educator community, at least in California, is a big push to get PWDs to quit smoking.

Now mind you, smoking's pretty much anti-social in this state anyway. It's illegal in practically all public places, and you get dirty looks just for doing it outdoors. I was shocked a few years ago to discover how many young people were puffing away in New York, inside stuffy clubs where it felt like we'd all die of heat prostration anyway. They'd just flick their smoldering butts out onto the street, without bothering to put them out. Being a California (tinderbox) native, it took all my restraint not to run and catch 'em, with a Smokey Bear speech ready to go.

But I digress.

We all know that smoking is bad for your health. Very bad indeed. If you have diabetes, it's a killer combo of bodily damage. The ADA can give you at least 11 good reasons not to smoke. The two that jumped out at me were: smoking makes you 3x as likely to die of cardiovascular disease as non-smokers with diabetes, and impotence. It's all bad.

So do you cAARd? That's the theme of the campaign that the California Diabetes Program is running right now to assist CDEs in helping people with diabetes to quit smoking. AAR = Ask, Advise, Refer (they have a penchant for cutsey acronyms).

The idea is to encourage educators to:

  • Ask every patient, at every visit: "Do you smoke or use tobacco?"
  • Advise them to quit. "Make it a priority to quit; it's important for your health."
  • Refer them to the California Smokers' Helpline (1-800-NO-BUTTS) with the "Take Charge" Gold Card -- a cute little marketing piece that looks like a credit card and urges smokers and other tobacco users to call the Helpline)

They offer materials and helplines in a half-dozen different languages. And they even offer educators some intervention-speak, all scripted out:

"I know quitting smoking is very difficult. Most people who want to quit are successful.Sometimes it takes more than one try. I know you can do it. Let me refer you to the cessation quitline, they can help you quit."

Corny, but at least they're using the Home Depot method of patient engagement (You Can Do It. We Can Help!) So kudos for that.

Honestly, I can't remember any of the myriad endos or educators I've seen ever once asking if I smoked. Or "used tobacco." Or otherwise "used." Glad I got diabetes this late in the game, because as a college student, I'm sure I wouldn't have fessed up anyway.

I've watched family friends struggle with quitting, so I have a sense of how hard that can be. If you're dealing with all this diabetes crap, too, well that's just got to make it that much harder.

Anyone out there trying to quit? Or managed to quit? Or have thoughts on smoking they'd like to share? I'm keeping an open mind here, despite being from very close to Belmont. Smokers are people, too. And as it turns out, the attraction may be genetic.

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.