How important is it to be smokefree when you have asthma?


If you or someone in your home is a smoker, then according to research, you have a 40-60% increased risk of asthma compared to people who aren’t exposed to smoke.

Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals that can harm your body, and it’s a huge trigger for asthma. Nearly three-quarters of people who have asthma will get symptoms if they spend time with smokers.

Why smoking impacts asthma sufferers

As a person suffering from asthma, your breathing tubes are red and inflamed. You produce extra mucus, which stays on the walls of your tubes and means the hole through which you breathe is smaller than it should be.

Smoking makes your asthma worse because it damages the hairs on the inner lining of your lungs. These hairs – called cilia – clean dust and other particles from your lungs. The more you interrupt this natural cleaning process, the more prone you’ll be to chest infections and irritated lungs, which can produce more mucus or swelling and close off your airways.

You’ll experience more asthma attacks, and the day-to-day management of your asthma will become more difficult. You may become more sensitive to other triggers, such as pets or pollen. You also have an increased chance of causing permanent lung damage, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

There are other significant health risks associated with smoking.

What if my child has asthma?

If your children with asthma are exposed to secondhand smoke, they become open to a higher risk of several health risks. Among them, their risk of experiencing asthma symptoms will significantly increase. As your children are smaller and their lungs may not have fully developed, secondhand smoke impacts them more significantly than adults.

If your children spend time with a parent or caregiver who smokes, they could develop more ear, nose, throat or chest infections, (including glue ear and middle ear infections), croup, pneumonia, bronchitis, and more severe asthma symptoms.  

How to manage smoking in your home

If you’re the smoker in your home, then quitting will dramatically improve your asthma, as well as giving you other health benefits. For help with quitting, call Quitline 0800 778 778, or check out one of the Asthma Foundation’s partners.

While you’re quitting, smoke outside the house and don’t smoke in your car. This will help to reduce your exposure to the smoke in confined spaces.

If you have kids and live with someone who smokes, then make it a rule that the house and car are now smokefree. If they’re going to be in your childrens’ lives for a long time, try to support them to quit. Your children will thank you, especially if they’re suffering from asthma attacks.

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