A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that smoking 20 cigarettes each day, the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes, greatly increases the risk of diabetes for African Americans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 17 percent of Black adults in the United States smoke tobacco. Smoking is a major risk factor for diabetes and is the fourth leading cause of death among this population.

Furthermore, for people with diabetes, smoking can cause serious health problems, such as heart and kidney disease and damage to the nerves of the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy) and the retinas (retinopathy). Smoking also affects lung function and makes it harder to engage in physical activity, thus leading to weight gain.

But quitting smoking can be extremely difficult for anyone. Experts advise all smokers that one way to help decrease their risk of diabetes is to reduce the number of cigarettes they puff on each day.