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Asthma and Smoking

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Asthma and Smoking

It is no surprise that smoking cigarettes has a long list of detrimental side effects, most of which heavily affect breathing. This list includes chronic bronchitis, lung and throat cancers, respiratory tract infections, and, of course, asthma.  Asthma is a disease in which the muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes spasm, therefore causing swelling and difficulty breathing.  Whether you are a smoker who has asthma, or a non-smoker who has asthma, you are at high risk because of cigarette smoke.

For a non-smoker, being around cigarette smoke causes grave dangers.  If you are around smoke, it can cause coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, and in some severe cases, an asthma attack can occur.  If a child lives in a home where there are cigarette smokers, he or she can very easily develop asthma over time due to the exposure of secondhand smoke.  In fact, children whose parents smoke cigarettes are four times more likely to develop chronic respiratory symptoms, such as phlegm, bronchitis, coughing, and wheezing.

Cigarette smokers who have asthma are considered to be a “Double Jeopardy.” While smoking already causes a number of illnesses and diseases, it is truly fatal for people with existing asthma.  As smoking directly causes shortness of breath and scarring/ weakening of the bronchial tubes, asthma does as well.  If you smoke and have asthma you are essentially doubling your risk of respiratory failure.  Most adults over 50 who newly develop asthma symptoms have a history of smoking.  If you smoke and have asthma, you run the risk of developing permanent and irreversible breathing problems.

Secondhand smoke is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a Class A human carcinogen; the exposure to it, even if one does not have asthma, is incredibly perilous.  When you smoke, you not only put yourself at risk, you put others at risk, including children.  If you or someone you know needs help quitting, please visit: http://www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/Contents-1/3-Ways-to-Quit/.

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