Asthma and Second-Hand Smoke
Second-hand smoke is a dangerous compound of potentially fatal chemicals which stems from the burning end of a lit cigarette, cigar, or pipe, hookah, etc., – or as exhaled smoke. Second-hand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Approximately 70, or more, are known to cause cancer. Second-hand smoke is often the contributor of severe, adverse health issues. Among these negative conditions is asthma.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, asthma is considered to be a chronic lung disease. This condition causes the airways to inflame and narrow. It could lead to recurring wheezing, coughing, tightness of the chest, and shortness of breath. In the United States alone, it is believed that over 25 million people have asthma. Out of these individuals, approximately 7 million sufferers are children. Most cases of adult asthma, however, began when they were children.
Second-Hand Smoke and its Effect on Asthma
It is proven that second-hand smoke does have a direct relationship with asthma. According to the American Lung Association, second-hand smoke can trigger episodes in asthmatics. It can also increase the severity of asthmatic episodes. However, one of the most notable repercussions of second-hand smoke, is that it presents an increased risk of asthma to young children who have never before exhibited symptoms. This is true for many cases of asthma in children, but it is also true in cases of increased illness in children, as well.
It is believed that the reason for this is the fact that the young lungs of children are still developing. Their bodies are also smaller. This means that they breathe faster, and take in more of the surrounding second-hand smoke when they are, in fact, exposed. Their lungs are still developing, and are therefore more susceptible to the effects of second-hand smoke because they are more vulnerable overall.
Children also have very little control over their personal environments. This is why more cases of asthma develop in children, rather than adults. When an individual has little to no control over their personal environments, they are at the mercy of those around them. Children are especially susceptible to these conditions, and when there is a smoker present, they suffer exposure to second-hand smoke. This is often looked at as a passing or non-invasive exposure by those who smoke. However, children are reliant on adults to make proper decisions for them. They do not have the mental capacity to understand the repercussions of second-hand smoke exposure. Adults do.
How to Decrease the Risk of Asthma
Decreasing the risk of asthma is vital – especially when there are children involved. One of the first things to consider when it comes to children is the probability of second-hand smoke exposure during their daily routine. Are there adults who may smoke in their presence during the day? It is important to assess your child’s environment in order to ensure they are not exposed to second-hand smoke. Remember, asthma can last a lifetime, and so can a host of other life-threatening illnesses which can stem from repeated exposure to second-hand smoke.
When it comes to you personally, do you work or place yourself around smokers? If so, you also must consider that severe or repeated second-hand smoke exposure can result in an increased risk of asthma, as well as a host of other smoke-related illnesses. Adults are not immune.
Ensuring that you or a child are not exposed to second-hand smoke is the only way to remain fully protected from its effects. If you or someone you know smokes, help is available. Thereare numerous smoking cessation aids available right over the counter. Stronger medications can also be obtained with a prescription. Talk to your doctor to see if an NRT is right for you.