8 Tips for Smokers Who Have Asthma

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking, side effects

Dr. Howell

If you are a smoker and you have asthma, you could be making your situation worse by not quitting today. Not only that. You are also exposing yourself to more debilitating diseases, such as COPD and lung cancer.

Asthma is a chronic disease that usually results from an autoimmune disorder. During an asthma attack, the airways (or the tubes that carry air to your lungs) become swollen, affecting your breathing function. Asthma symptoms include wheezing, coughing, and tightness or pain in the chest.


How is smoking related to asthma?

Asthma attack occurs when something irritates the airways, resulting to a variety of symptoms. When the airways become irritated, they get swollen, affecting breathing function. At the same time, more mucus is produced in the lungs, making breathing much harder.


Tobacco is one of the most common asthma triggers. Tobacco smoke, including second-hand and third-hand smoke, is dangerous to everyone, especially those who have asthma and other respiratory disorders. This is why asthma attacks are more common among smokers than non-smokers. Basically, cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals that cause inflammation and toxicity in the body, particularly the respiratory system. All of them can trigger a serious asthma attack that often leads to hospitalization.

Preventing an Asthma Attack – Tips for Smokers


  1. Quit now. Even though smoking is not a direct cause of asthma, it can trigger asthma attack and worsen the sufferer’s condition. Quitting smoking now is the best way to reduce the severity of your asthma.
  2. Know your options. You may seek help from a smoking cessation specialist if you find it hard to ditch the habit. There are plenty of quit smoking methods you can try, such as medication, counseling, nicotine replacement therapy, and so on.
  3. Stay away from other asthma triggers. Aside from cigarette smoke, you should also avoid other asthma triggers, such as pollen, dust, etc.
  4. Avoid smokers. You also want to avoid going to places where people smoke. If someone smokes in your home, tell them how it could worsen your condition. You may also encourage them to quit by informing them the benefits of being a non-smoker.
  5. Get rid of third-hand smoke. Quitting smoking is not enough to reduce your risk of suffering from asthma attack. You should also eliminate third-hand smoke by cleaning your home to take away traces of tobacco. Wash your draperies, curtains, blankets, etc.
  6. Exercise. Studies have shown that asthma patients can greatly benefit from exercising and practicing breathing techniques. If you have never exercised before, start with light to moderate physical exercises such as brisk walking. You can then move on to harder forms of exercise overtime.
  7. Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor. Asthma attacks are easily relieved by prescription medications.
  8. Improve your lifestyle. Along with quitting smoking, you may also want to improve your lifestyle. Observe a healthy diet, learn to manage stress, get quality sleep, and exercise regularly.

Quitting smoking today is one great way to prevent asthma or reduce its severity. And more importantly, it could improve the quality of your life and health.


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