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For Asthma Patients, Smoking Can be Highly Dangerous

Asthma is a disease of the airways of the lungs caused due to chronic inflammation. Cigarette smoking can be dangerous for asthma patients as tobacco smoke is a powerful trigger of asthma symptoms. In asthma, allergic inflammation of the bronchial tubes origins mucus production, leading to cough and phlegm. In a person who has been a long-term cigarette smokers, the chronic inhalation of smoke that comes from burning tobacco leaves, stimulates the mucous glands in the bronchial tubes to make excess mucus, giving rise to daily cough with phlegm. People who have asthma and smoke cigarettes could have worse symptoms, are more prone to get an attack, and often have a dissimilar kind of airway inflammation than non-smokers with asthma.

The Mechanism

Smoke comprises of more than 4,000 chemicals, including carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide makes it harder for oxygen to flow round the body. When you smoke, or inhale passive smoke, you are taking the chemicals right into your lungs. The chemicals inflame the airways and lungs. If you are a smoker, or regularly exposed to tobacco smoke, you will have more symptoms and need more medicines to get better of your asthma. If your asthma symptoms get vulnerable, you are at a higher risk of an asthma attack. Even if you are a passive smoker, symptoms can come when you come around an active smoker.

How does tobacco smoke trigger asthma?
When a person breathes in tobacco smoke, irritating substances deposits in the moist lining of the airways. These substances can source an attack in a person with asthma. In addition, tobacco smoke damages tiny hair in the airways called cilia. Generally, cilia sweeps dust and mucus out of the airways of the lungs. Tobacco smoke harms cilia so they become inactive and let dust and mucus in the airways. Smoke also triggers high production of mucus than normal and as a result causes an attack.

Is passive smoking harmful to a person with asthma?
Second-hand smoke is the mixture of smoke from a burning cigar or cigarette and smoke exhaled by a smoker. Passive smoking is significantly more hurtful than active smoking since the smoke that burns off the flip side of cigarette contains much more harmful substances like (tar, carbon monoxide, nicotine) than the filtered smoke inhaled by the smoker.
Passive smoking is particularly damaging to people with asthma. When an asthma patient is open to exhaled smoke, he or she is more susceptible to the wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath linked with asthma.

What are the effects of passive smoking on children with asthma?
Second-hand smoke damages children with asthma even more than adults. When a child is open to tobacco smoke, his lungs become inflamed and hence produce more mucus than normal. Since kids’ airways are smaller, the ill effects of second-hand smoke affect them faster and hamper lung function in later life.
Children whose parents smoke are also more prone to develop lung and sinus infections. These infections can lead to worse asthma symptoms, which is more difficult to control.

Can smoking harm an unborn child?
Nicotine, the addictive ingredient in tobacco products, travels through the mother’s blood directly into the baby’s body. Children, whose mothers smoke during pregnancy, can have weaker lungs and therefore prone to airborne diseases like asthma.

Source: The New Indian Express

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