Avoid smoking and drinking | Diabetes Hub

Get to know the withdrawal symptoms and how to manage them, as well as what to do if drinking is unavoidable.

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Avoid smoking and drinking

Quit smoking

Smoking increases insulin resistance, risk of diabetes and its complications.


Managing withdrawal symptoms

Feeling irritable

Your brain is adjusting to a nicotine-free life.

  • Do light exercises (e.g., brisk walking) to release endorphins to lift your mood
  • Engage in relaxing hobbies

Having headaches

Your brain is most likely adapting to the increased level of oxygen.

  • Get enough sleep
  • Read or watch TV with adequate lighting


Your lungs are starting to function properly again and are working to clear tar, dead cells and extra mucus accumulated from smoking.

  • Sip warm water

Feeling tired

Nicotine is a stimulant that forces your body to feel awake; as your blood circulation improves, you will feel alert without the need to smoke.

  • Take small, regular meals to regulate your blood sugar level and boost your energy

Tingling hands and feet

Your blood circulation is slowly improving; as more oxygen gets to your fingers and toes, the tingling will stop.

  • Do stretching exercises

Constant cravings

  • Distract yourself by doing something else

Warn family and friends of potential irritability
Distract yourself by doing something else
Do light exercises like brisk walking to lift your mood
Take small, regular meals
Do stretching exercises
Join the I Quit 28-Day Countdown

Avoid drinking alcohol

Drinking excessive alcohol can cause hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) due to increased insulin secretion, especially if consumed on an empty stomach or if you are taking certain diabetes medications.

Alcohol has been linked to increased insulin resistance, and can interfere with meals plans and blood sugar control, especially if you are taking insulin or medication for diabetes.

The amount of sugar content varies depending on the type of alcohol. Commercial alcoholic drinks may also be mixed with soda or fruit juices that are high in sugar content.

Alcoholic drinks such as beer contain high amounts of calories, which can lead to weight gain.


What to do if drinking is unavoidable

  • Avoid drinking regularly
  • Do not drink on an empty stomach
  • Limit your alcohol intake per day to:
    • 1 standard drink for women
    • 2 standard drinks for men
  • Choose light beer or wine spritzer, dilute mixers with water
  • Avoid craft beer and sweet wine
  • Skip your drinks slowly
  • Drink plain water for hydration

What is 1 standard drink?

1 standard drink contains 10g of alcohol
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