Factsheet

Smoking triggers my asthma and allergies

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Smoking and asthma are a bad match.

Smoking yourself or breathing in other people's smoke:

  • damages your lungs
  • makes your asthma harder to manage
  • stops your asthma medicines working properly
  • increases your risk of asthma attacks or flare-ups

As well as saving what you spend on cigarettes, quitting smoking may even mean you need to take less asthma medications. That's saving you money twice over.

A dangerous combination

People with asthma have even more reason to avoid smoking than those without asthma. Your lungs are extra sensitive when you have asthma and they are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of cigarette smoke. In the short term, smoking and asthma makes you more likely to have asthma attacks or flare-ups. In the long term, you’re at higher risk of developing smoking-related diseases like emphysema.

Tobacco smoke is a major trigger for asthma. People with asthma and those around them should not smoke.

Keep kids smoke-free

  • Smoking around babies and kids damages their lungs and worsens wheezing and asthma.
  • Make sure babies and children have a smoke-free home and car. Remember that tobacco smoke in your hair and clothing is still poisonous.
  • Smoking (or breathing in other people’s smoke) during pregnancy can hurt the development of your baby’s lungs and can increase the chance that your child will get asthma.
  • If you are planning a pregnancy, you and your partner should stop smoking before the pregnancy to protect your unborn baby.

E-cigarettes

We don't yet know for sure how e-cigarettes affect asthma, but new evidence is emerging every day. Research is also underway on whether they can help people quit smoking regular cigarettes.

Until more is known, people with asthma should adopt a practical approach – avoid inhaling anything into your lungs that may be harmful, as it could make your asthma worse.

For more information about e-cigarettes, see the Quit Victoria Factsheet

Quitting smoking

People with asthma who quit smoking have healthier lungs within just 6 weeks.

There are many different methods to help you quit, including gum, patches, medication, coaching or cold turkey. Some people find that using a combination of these makes the difference.

Whichever strategy you choose, you don’t have to do it alone – there are many ways to get help.

Speak to your doctor, pharmacist or asthma & respiratory educator. They can give you advice and support to help you quit successfully.

You can also get help from Quit:

  • call Quitline: 13 7848
  • check out the website: www.quitnow.gov.au
  • download the app: My QuitBuddy


Disclaimer

It is important to note that information contained in this brochure is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner. 

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