Asthma and Secondhand Smoke

Asthma Management

​Asthma and Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is the combination of exhaled smoke and smoke from the burning end of cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Inhaling secondhand smoke is also known as environmental tobacco smoke, and it may be even more harmful that smoking. This is because secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals – about 70 of which are known to cause cancer.

Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to children and people who have asthma. When children are exposed to tobacco smoke, their become irritated and produce more mucus than normal, which can negatively affect lung function in later life. Additionally, people who have asthma are more likely to experience asthma symptoms like coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath when exposed to secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke can cause, worsen or increase the risk of developing many serious medical conditions in children, including:

  • Asthma

  • Sinus infections

  • Nasal congestion and post-nasal drip (excessive mucus build up)

  • Respiratory tract infections

  • Pneumonia

  • Ear infections

  • Hearing loss

Smoking During Pregnancy

Children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to have lung problems and are 10 times more likely to develop asthma. Smoking during pregnancy has also been linked to hyperactivity and learning problems among children, low-birth weight among newborns, premature births and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Avoiding Secondhand Smoke

You can take several, simple – yet very important – steps to reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, including:

  • Do not allow smoking in your home or vehicle.

  • Do not allow anyone to smoke around you or your child.

  • Do not use babysitting services of anyone who smokes, and do not use a daycare facility that permits smoking on its grounds.

  • Avoid restaurants and public places that permit smoking.

  • Quitting smoking. Quitting smoking isn’t always easy, but Parkview has a Hospital Nicotine Independence Program to help you kick the habit. Call them at (260) 266-2292 to learn more. You can also talk with your physician about helpful tips to help you quit smoking.



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