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Asthma and Smoking


When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.

This powerful message--found on the American Lung Association website--couldn't be more truthful. If you suffer from asthma and/or other respiratory diseases, the heat, chemicals, and smoke from cigarettes is the last thing your lungs need.

“Asthma and smoking simply don’t mix,” a pulmonologist once told me.

Asthma affects both children and adults and can be life threatening. Deaths due to asthma number over 3300 every year, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation. Many deaths can be prevented by taking measures to treat symptoms before they worsen. Asthma symptoms include:

  • Chest tightnessMountains resized 600
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing

Avoiding asthma triggers and regular use of a controller inhaler are key to preventing asthma exacerbations. One such trigger to avoid is tobacco smoke, including smoke from pipes, cigars or cigarettes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21% of U.S. adults smoke and have asthma. If you have asthma and smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your lung’s health and for the health of your children’s lungs.

Children are particularly susceptible to lung irritants as their bodies are much smaller. Childhood asthma affects 7.1 million children under the age of 18. Smoking during pregnancy can potentially affect newborn lung development and increase risk of childhood asthma.

While, to date, there is insufficient data to show that smoking and secondhand smoke cause asthma, it does make asthma symptoms worse.  Tobacco smoke, whether inhaled directly (mainstream smoke) or indirectly (passive smoke) irritates the airways and causes a chain reaction including inflammation of the airways, tightening of airway muscles, and increased mucus production, all of which contribute to the narrowing and obstruction of the airways.

When you quit smoking, you effectively remove a huge source of lung irritation and will notice better asthma control and fewer flare-ups. It is possible, however, that you may notice an initial worsening of asthma symptoms--increased chest tightness, difficulty breathing, coughing, and mucus production. But do not despair!  What may appear to be an excacerbation of your asthma is the contrary: your body is healing. Think of it this way: it’s almost if you are not used to breathing without restriction (or if you haven’t breathed easily in the many years you probably smoked). These changes may act as a trigger to asthma symptoms (remember: people with asthma have "twitchy" lungs, meaning hyper-reactivity to anything that can potentially trigger a flare-up). But in the long run, your asthma should IMPROVE. Most folks notice a significant improvement in breathing after 90 days.

In the meantime, you may find yourself increasing your usage of a “rescue” inhaler, at least until symptoms improve. You might also try a warm bath or compress or breathing and relaxation exercises to help alleviate tight chest muscles.   

The bottom line: keeping your house smoke-free will leave you and your family breathing easier.




I used to think that people that had asthma and took up smoking were very stupid people. On reflection they are no more stupid than anyone else whom takes up smoking. After all they are subject to the same brain washing as the rest of us, not to mention our every day smokie environments.  
We all know that one cigarette won't kill us (asthma or not). But once the majority of us have one its only a matter of time before we try our second and so on.  
The lucky ones are the people who get so violently sick while trying that first cigerette that they can never look at trying another.  
Smoking doesn't care about our health issues it can and does effect each and every one of us through out our lives and its the brain washing we gain about smoking as children that makes us try our first and makes us believe we are highly addicted for the rest of our smoking lives.  
Beat the brain washing and you'll beat smoking.  
BTW, telling people that smoking is bad for them isn't going to stop anyone from smoking.  
People don't smoke for the reasons that they shouldn't, they smoke for the reasons that they do.  
Change the brainwashing, change the reasons.  
Good luck 
Posted @ Friday, April 19, 2013 2:04 AM by Willy
Nice read! Even after knowing the side-effects of cigarettes and alcohol, it is hard for people to quit smoking. Smoking during pregnancy is always prohibited because it can really affect your baby’s health. In order to maintain the health of you and your baby, quitting cigarettes is quite essential as this is the best thing a mother can do for her baby.
Posted @ Friday, October 04, 2013 5:34 AM by Angelica Meyer
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