Smoking: Risks for Asthma
Quitting smoking is good news for asthma
Stop smoking to reduce the risk of asthma for your baby and child
Ready to quit smoking?
Pay attention to your asthma symptoms when you first give up

Smoking: Risks for Asthma

Whether smoking, cigars, pipes, hookahs or rolling drinks, smoking increases your risk of asthma symptoms and asthma attacks.

In addition, smokers need higher-dose steroid-preventing medications to reduce airway inflammation.

This means that your asthma is more difficult to manage on a daily basis, so symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and a tight chest are more common.

If your asthma is difficult to control in the long run and you continue to smoke, you will be at greater risk for other serious lung diseases such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

Quitting smoking is good news for asthma

Quitting smoking significantly reduces your risk of asthma, regardless of your age or whether you have smoked for a long time.

You won’t have to wait long to start seeing the benefits – in just a few days, your asthma symptoms will improve as your lungs begin to clear all toxins quickly.

You can look forward to:

  • you breathe easier when your airways begin to relax
  • symptoms are reduced and the risk of an asthma attack is reduced
  • more energy as your lung function improves
  • better protection against colds and flu

Stop smoking to reduce the risk of asthma for your baby and child

Smoking during pregnancy it can affect how well your baby’s lungs develop in the womb and how well your baby’s lungs work after birth.

If you smoke, your baby has a higher risk of premature birth, so your lungs will not have a chance to fully develop before birth.

Smoking during pregnancy means that your baby is more likely not to wheeze or cough.

They will be more prone to asthma or other respiratory problems.

If you smoke around your baby or child Whether you have asthma or not, you will be at greater risk for coughing and wheezing.

Infants and children under the age of two are more likely to develop bronchiolitis when their parents smoke.

If your child has asthma, smoking around them puts them at risk for asthma symptoms and asthma attacks.

Children living with smokers are three times more likely to smoke than children living in non-smoking homes.

Ready to quit smoking?

The good news is that there are many treatments that can help you, such as nicotine patches, smoking cessation medications, and e-cigarettes, to help you overcome cravings.

Getting laid off isn’t always easy, and it can take a few tries. But keep it up – the evidence shows that a combination of advice and support, combined with the right smoking cessation treatments, is the best way to achieve your smoking cessation goal.

Your GP, asthma nurse, or pharmacist can advise you on how to get started and contact your local NHS Smoking Stop Services.

Pay attention to your asthma symptoms when you first give up

Sometimes people find that their asthma symptoms get worse when they first quit smoking.

“It’s not uncommon,” says Dr Andy Whittamore, an asthma UK internal medicine doctor, “but don’t let that delay you. Asthma symptoms will gradually improve and you will soon see real benefits for your asthma and overall health.

A GP or asthma nurse can help you through:

  • check your asthma medications both when following a smoking cessation plan and after being able to quit smoking.
  • keep your asthma action plan up to date so you know what to do if you see symptoms worsen
  • Check your lung function with tests peak flow, like FeNo or spirometry, you can see how things improve after quitting smoking. If you keep a peak flow diary, you can get a new high peak flow score if you have stopped smoking.

Learn more about smoking cessation services with tips and ideas to continue when you are trying to quit smoking

Last updated March 2020

The next review is until March 2023