If you suffer from asthma, you already know that smoking cigarettes can make your symptoms much worse. And not smoking doesn't make you immune from these effects--second hand smoke can be just as dangerous, upping your risk for a host of dangerous health problems. Further, if you are not asthmatic, being exposed to second-hand smoke significantly increases your risk of developing this condition in the future.

Where there's Smoke. . .

Smokers who have asthma tend to experience more frequent symptoms, largely due to the inhaled smoke irritating airways and causing them to swell and fill with mucus.  Non-asthmatics have this reaction as well, but if your airways are particularly sensitive airways, the effects of smoking and asthma will be even more severe. Another dangerous side effect? Your symptoms may be less responsive to medication.

Smoking and Asthma

Asthmatics who don't smoke may think they aren't at risk for these ill effects, but in reality,  second hand smoke exposure can still cause the same problems, particularly among children, whose lungs are smaller and as a result, they tend to breathe in more quickly, thereby inhaling more smoke. Even children without asthma may be at a greatly increased risk of developing this condition if they are around second hand smoke on a regular basis. Further, the latest research reveals that second hand smoke can also lead to lung cancer, ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and a range of other health problems.


Protect Your Health

If you smoke, the best way to protect your health and keep your asthma under control is to quit. It is never too late to break the habit, and there are a host of tools and support groups that can help you to be successful in your efforts to throw those cigarettes away for good. Talk to your doctor about how best to quit, or do a search online for more information to help you reach this goal.

You should also steer clear of second hand smoke. If your family and friends smoke, let them know how it affects your health and ask them to refrain from lighting up in your presence. Make sure no one smokes in your home or your car, and finally, avoid areas where people congregate to smoke at parties and outdoors.


American Lung Association


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Environmental Protection Agency