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Asthma and Smoking

Asthma causes the lining of your airways to swell. It also causes tightening of the muscles around the airways, and increased mucus in the airways. All of these changes make it difficult for air to go in and out of the lungs. Cigarette smoke is just one of many irritants that can cause these changes. And if other triggers are already present, cigarette smoke can make symptoms even worse.

Grandfather walking with a child outdoors in the winter

Reasons to quit smoking

Asthma is just one of many reasons that you should quit smoking. If you quit, you will have fewer symptoms and flare-ups. You will also have less need for medication, health care provider and emergency room visits, and hospitalizations. And fewer missed work or school days.

You will have more:

  • Symptom-free days

  • Time for activities you enjoy

  • Energy

Think about all of the reasons you should quit smoking. Make a list of the reasons.

Reasons to quit are:

  • __________________________________

  • __________________________________

  • __________________________________

  • __________________________________

Make a plan to quit. One of the first steps is to choose a quit date. It is best to pick a date within the next two weeks. Talk with your healthcare provider about ways to make quitting easier. There are many programs available. And there are both prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

Secondhand and third-hand smoke

Secondhand smoke can worsen your symptoms and cause flare-ups. It can also make you more sensitive to other triggers. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. Even short-term exposure can cause serious health problems. You should not let people smoke in your home or in your car. You should also stay away from any place that allows smoking.

The smoke that sticks to a smoker’s clothes is called third-hand smoke. This can also cause asthma symptoms. It means that even if someone smokes outdoors and then comes into your home, you may still be exposed to smoke.

If you have asthma, you should try to avoid both secondhand and third-hand smoke.

Online Medical Reviewer: Akin, RN, Louise
Online Medical Reviewer: Holloway, Beth, RN, M.Ed.
Date Last Reviewed: 11/1/2016
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.