Tobacco Smoke

Tobacco smoke is a potent irritant for human airways. Tobacco smoke can travel throughout the home and cause increased symptoms for asthmatic and allergic individuals. Smoke fumes on clothing also can be irritating.

Adverse effects of smoking reported during pregnancy include an increased number of: stillbirths, neonatal death rates, spontaneous abortion, lower birth weights and lower lung function in the newborn. Adverse effects of smoking around children include increased persistent wheezing and asthma, increased rates of hospital admissions for asthma, increased incidence of middle ear infections, increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, earlier onset of respiratory allergies and decreased lung function.

Asthmatics who smoke are at increased risk for more severe and persistent asthma symptoms as well as an increased likelihood of infections of the respiratory tract such as bronchitis, ear, sinusitis, and upper respiratory tract viral infections.

These infections themselves can trigger and increase asthma symptoms. Any medication prescribed for treatment will not be as effective for those who continue to smoke or who continue to be exposed to tobacco smoke. The biggest risk factor for the development of allergic disease, particularly in early childhood, is passive smoke exposure.

The following precautions will reduce adverse effects due to tobacco smoke:

  • Patients with asthma and/or upper airway allergies should not smoke.
  • Patients who do smoke should actively pursue tobacco cessation measures. (Stop Smoking).
  • Patients with allergies and asthma should not be exposed to smoke.  There should be no smoking in the house or car.
  • Parents who smoke and have children with allergies and asthma should actively pursue tobacco cessation measures. (Stop Smoking).

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