Smoking is bad news for everyone, but especially for kids who have asthma. Smoking causes coughing and wheezing and makes it hard to breathe — the same problems that happen during an asthma flare-up. So if you add smoke to lungs that are already irritated, you have big-time breathing trouble.
If people have asthma and they smoke, they will probably:
You might wonder why people smoke at all. Many people start smoking when they are kids or teens and they try it for many reasons. Maybe all of their friends were doing it or they grew up in a house where all the grownups smoked.
But no matter why they started, many smokers wish they could quit. Smoking doesn't just cause problems for people who have asthma. Over time, smoking can lead to serious health problems, such as cancer and heart disease.
Quitting smoking is hard, though, because the tobacco (say: tuh-ba-ko) in cigarettes, pipes, and cigars contains a substance called nicotine (say: nih-kuh-teen). Nicotine is addictive (say: uh-dik-tiv). When something is addictive, your body and mind will tell you that you need it to feel OK. If you don't get it, you might feel sick, stressed out, or crabby.
We hope you're not smoking! But even if you don't smoke, tobacco smoke can still cause you problems. How? If you're around other people who smoke, just breathing that secondhand smoke can cause an asthma flare-up. You can ask to sit in the no-smoking section at restaurants and other places, such as ballparks. But that might not be enough to protect you from nearby smoke.
If a friend or family member smokes around you, let him or her know that it makes your asthma worse. Ask the person not to smoke in your house or car. This can really help with your asthma symptoms.
If you can't get the person to stop smoking around you, talk with your mom, dad, or another trusted adult, such as a school counselor.
Even if you try your best, you still might find yourself in a smoky situation. That's why you should always have your rescue medication with you!
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2010
|Kick Butts Day The annual Kick Butts Day is the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids' annual celebration of youth advocacy, leadership and activism.|
|American Lung Association The mission of this group is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Contact the group at: American Lung Association|
61 Broadway, 6th Floor
NY, NY 10006
|AAAAI Just for Kids This Just for Kids page from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology offers lots of fun activities to help you learn about managing your allergies and asthma.|
|The National Partnership for Smoke-Free Families Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson, this program offers information and advice on helping pregnant smokers quit.|
|What Kids Say About: Tobacco Everyone knows tobacco is unhealthy, but what do kids think about it? We asked 1,433 kids to give us their opinions.|
|Your House: How to Make It Asthma-Safe If you have asthma, you want to breathe easy at home. Find out how in this article for kids.|
|Asthma Asthma is a condition that affects a person's airways, also known as breathing tubes. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Asthma Center Asthma means breathing problems. Find out what's going on in the lungs and how to stay healthy, if you have it.|
|Smoking Stinks! Everyone says smoking is bad for you. Why? Find out in this article for kids.|
|Handling an Asthma Flare-Up How can you prepare for an asthma flare-up? Find out in this article for kids.|
|What's an Asthma Flare-Up? A kid who has asthma might have an asthma attack (or flare-up). Find out more in this article for kids.|
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