You may have family photo albums full of pictures with people smoking at all kinds of events, from kids' birthday parties to picnics. That's because smoking used to be OK everywhere — even in doctors' offices. All that changed as we learned more about the health problems it causes.
If you have asthma, smoking is especially risky because of the damage it does to the lungs.
Smoke irritates the airways, causing them to become swollen, narrow, and filled with sticky mucus — the same things that happen during an asthma flare-up. That's why smoking can cause asthma flare-ups to happen more often. Those flare-ups may be more severe and harder to control, even with medicine.
You may have started smoking because friends do or because you grew up in a house where lots of people smoked. Some people try smoking because they are curious or bored. No matter why you started, if you're thinking about quitting, it would probably help your asthma.
Here are some other reasons to quit:
If you decide to quit smoking, you don't have to go it alone. Get support from other people, like friends, family or other smokers who are also trying to quit. Ask your doctor about medicines or things you can do to crave cigarettes less. Your doctor wants to help you quit!
Even if you don't smoke, you may still run into smoky situations in restaurants, parties, or even at home if one of your family members smokes. Secondhand smoke is a known asthma trigger. You'll want to avoid it as much as possible if you have asthma.
If you hang out with smokers or have a family member who smokes in the house, you are likely to have more frequent and severe asthma symptoms. You may have to take more medicine and your asthma may be harder to control. Finally, you may find yourself at the doctor's office or hospital more often because of asthma symptoms.
There's not much you can do about other people's behavior. But let your friends and family know that what they are doing is making your asthma worse. Ask them not to smoke in your house or car. It's your air, after all.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014
|Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) ASH is a nonprofit educational organization that fights for the rights of nonsmokers through legal action. Contact ASH at: Action on Smoking and Health|
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|American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers up-to-date information and a find-an-allergist search tool.|
|QuitNet QuitNet offers tips, tools, and help for those who want to quit smoking.|
|American Lung Association The mission of this group is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Contact the group at: American Lung Association|
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|Smokefree.gov This site contains facts and information about how to quit smoking.|
|Dealing With Asthma Triggers Triggers are substances or activities that are harmless to most people. But in people with asthma, they can lead to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Read this article for tips on dealing with asthma triggers.|
|Secondhand Smoke Experts now know that breathing in someone else's secondhand smoke is hazardous to our health. Find out what you can do about it.|
|How Can I Quit Smoking? Nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the United States is related to tobacco. Are you ready to kick the habit?|
|Stop Smoking: Your Personal Plan This interactive feature helps you come up with a plan to stop smoking.|
|Asthma Center Visit our Asthma Center for information and advice on managing and living with asthma.|
|What's an Asthma Flare-Up? An asthma flare-up (or attack) can cause coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing. Sometimes, symptoms can be severe. Find out what causes flare-ups and what you can do in this article.|
|Asthma-Safe Homes You want to feel good in your own home, right? If you have asthma, you can take steps to remove or minimize triggers at home that cause breathing problems and asthma flare-ups.|
|How to Avoid the ER if You Have Asthma Going to the ER is the last resort for someone who has asthma. The good news is that you can prevent this by getting your asthma under control. Get some tips on how.|
|Dealing With an Asthma Flare-Up Asthma flare-ups, or attacks, can be handled, but it's even better if you can prevent them from happening. Find out how to deal with flare-ups.|
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