Can Smoking Cause Asthma?

For decades, medical practitioners have insisted their patients give up smoking as it may cause them bronchitis, cancer of the lungs, tuberculosis, and severe breathing problems such as asthma.

Asthma and smoking statistics show that smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes harm our bodies and lungs in many ways.

Especially for an asthmatic who smokes with asthma, this can be a powerful triggering agent for asthma symptoms.

Even for babies, children, and asthmatics who do not smoke, passive smoking and third-hand smoke pose significant dangers to their health.

It is therefore essential for asthmatics (smoker or not) to know the connection between asthma and smoking in detail so that they can avoid living in an environment that is unhealthy for them and their loved ones.

The other common questions asked about smoking and asthma are the following:

  • Can smoking cause asthma?
  • Can smoking while pregnant cause asthma?
  • Can smoking harm my children?
  • Can second-hand smoke cause asthma in adults?
  • Can third-hand smoke cause asthma in adults and babies?
  • Why are my breathing and asthma worse since giving up smoking?

As you continue to read further, you will be able to get all the answers to the questions listed above, along with the one asked in the article title.

Let us start with the very first important question…How does smoking affect asthma?

How Does Smoking Affect Asthma?

The airways of an asthmatic person are very much sensitive. They can adversely react very fast to irritating substances or allergens such as tobacco smoke or the smoke of cigarettes, vaping, weeds, fire, etc.

Studies reveal that if you smoke with asthma regularly, these allergens settle down on the moist lining of your airways, causing an attack of asthma more often.

In many cases, when a person is an active smoker, tobacco smoke also damages cilia.

Cilia are the tiny hair-like structures in the lungs and respiratory tract that clear up the airways from mucus and dirt, allowing us to breathe easily without causing any irritation.

Can Smoking Help Make Asthma Better?

Yes, indeed, it was the case in the past when smoking was considered a way to make asthma feel better.

According to various past studies, asthma cigarettes that contained belladonna and stramonium were used by asthmatics due to their sweet aroma known to relieve respiratory issues and asthma symptoms.

Thanks to all the latest medical research, it has been proved that smoking of any kind is harmful to health and it outweighs the benefits offered, if any.

Fortunately, there are better and safer medicines known today, used by doctors to treat asthma conditions. And smoking is no longer recommended for relieving respiratory issues such as asthma!

Can You Get Asthma From Smoking?

Smoking is hazardous to health, and we all know that very well. Not only smoking cigarettes and cigars but also weeds, vapes, and e-cigarette are a potential risk for people suffering from mild respiratory issues.

The consequences of smoking may not seem severe in starting stages, but if the practice is not stopped, it can lead to severe health problems such as asthma and COPD sooner or later.

Smoking and asthma are an unfortunate combination for many. Studies show that for an active smoker, smoking in the form of tobacco, nicotine, or e-liquids damages the lung cells causing lung inflammation.

Chronic inhalation of tobacco smoke also stimulates the mucus glands present in the bronchial tubes, which leads to a constant build-up of excessive mucus. It slowly results in recurrent cough and phlegm formation.

Smokers, because of the recurrent cough and mucus formation, find their respiratory passage getting obstructed, causing a feeling of dyspnea which can eventually end up in the occurrence of bronchial asthma.

Can Smoking While Pregnant Cause Asthma?

Being pregnant is an excellent feeling for new moms. This is, in fact, a time that is best for you to quit your smoking habit and concentrate on the health of your unborn baby.

If not, you will be putting (not only yourself but also your baby) at risk of getting lung problems and respiratory issues such as asthma.

Hard to believe that more than 1000 babies die each year die only because their mothers used to smoke when they were pregnant.

The truth is, if you are smoking while pregnant, you are inviting long-term health issues for your unborn child, which can be faced by them at later stages of their life in the form of low immunity, cold, cough, etc.

Many times newborn babies have tiny lungs, which make it harder for them to breathe normally.

Second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke can also cause severe issues for young ones, which may even lead to fatal issues like heavy wheezing, bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia.

What Is Second Hand Smoke, And How Does It Affect Asthma?

Secondhand smoke (also called passive or environmental tobacco smoke) is a mixture of two types of smoke that originates from the burning of tobacco. These are:

  • Mainstream smoke is exhaled directly by the smoker
  • Sidestream smoke that comes from a lighted cigarette, cigar, or hookah

Many people who do not smoke, but have a family member as a smoker, have a question in mind: can passive smoking cause asthma?

To be true, passive smoke is found to be much more harmful than smoking.

This is because the smoke coming out of a lighted cigarette or cigar tip contains more hazardous substances that include nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar, etc.

This can prove to be much more harmful to health than the smoke which is inhaled directly by the smoker.

Studies show that secondhand smoke is more harmful to people who are already suffering from asthma or other respiratory issues.

When these people are exposed to such smoke, they are highly vulnerable to getting asthma attacks and associated problems like shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing.

What Is Third Hand Smoke, And How Does It Affect Asthma?

Thirdhand smoke refers to residual byproducts of cigarette smoke (like nicotine, chemicals, or other harmful particles) which are left behind on indoor surfaces like furniture, walls, carpets, drapes, clothes, etc.

The residual chemical and ultrafine particles of the tobacco smoke can also get linger on hairs, skin, or the interiors of the car surfaces weeks after a cigarette or cigar has been put off, and the smoker has left the area.

When exposed to asthmatics, these potentially harmful tiny particles can prove to be hazardous and much more deadly than nicotine inhaled directly by the smoker.

The residue left behind due to thirdhand smoke gradually builds upon various surfaces, which react with other indoor pollutants in the air slowly.

This gets converted into a deadly toxic mixture and chemical compounds that act as a potential health hazard for children and non-smokers, resulting in respiratory issues like asthma for them.

Infants and toddlers are often at increased risk of thirdhand smoke as they tend to get in touch with these contaminated surfaces through hands and mouth.

Sadly, you cannot get rid of thirdhand smoke so easily. To altogether remove these tiny residues and harmful particles, you should regularly clean your furniture and upholstery.

And most importantly, you should insist on living in a smoke-free environment by not allowing anyone in your family to smoke. This is important not only for you but also for your small ones.

Developing Asthma After Quitting Smoking: Possible Reasons

Smoking and asthma in adults can be severe problems for a long. Even for many people, asthma and bronchitis symptoms persist (and may get worse initially) when they quit smoking.

Breathing and asthma getting worse since giving up smoking can be attributed to the fact that your lungs and respiratory system (including the gradually growing damaged cilia) are once again getting ready for normal functioning.

As they experience sudden changes that are not habitual to them, the signs of increased asthma symptoms can be sometimes seen.

Possible Reasons and Things You Need To Check

It’s a proven fact that continuing to smoke can put you at risk of developing asthma and not when you quit.

The fact that you experience aggravated asthma symptoms even after quitting may sometimes be due to various other reasons.

Try to figure out if there are any triggers/allergens present in your environment that may be causing the problem. These may be like: fire smoke in winters, increased pollen count, heavy pollution, etc.

If you find any, you need to get rid of them (or at least try to reduce exposure to it) so that you can quickly alleviate your asthma symptoms.

A few tips that can help are:

  • Avoid traveling with people who smoke
  • If travel with them, do not allow them to smoke
  • Limit your company to friends who do not smoke
  • Avoid visiting public places where smoking is allowed
  • Avoid visiting outdoors on days when there is a high pollen count or heavy pollution

Breathing may sometimes feel to be more difficult for you but worry not.

Quitting is not an easy task for everyone! But as you keep yourself motivated to stay off cigarettes and smoking, you will see improved health conditions slowly.

You just need to be patient, as your body may sometimes need a bit more time to get accustomed to the healthy changes you are trying to make in your lifestyle!