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A 21-year-old member asked:

Can asthma be caused by smoking around the child or adult?

17 doctor answers54 doctors weighed in
Dr. Andrew Carroll
Dr. Andrew Carrollanswered
Family Medicine 26 years experience
Yes: Yes, there are several studies which have shown that children who live in households of smokers have a much higher rate of asthma as a result. Children who live in those same homes also are more likely to get upper respiratory infections, ear infections, pneumonia, and many other illnesses.
Dr. Dean Giannone
Internal Medicine 26 years experience
No: Given that asthma is intrinsic to the individual, you can't cause asthma by smoking around a child. However, asthmatic children in houses with smokers experience more symptoms and hospitalizations related to asthma.
Dr. Theodore Cole
Specializes in Family Medicine
Yes: Smoke is a toxin, and can cause irritation, tissue damage, and sensitivity (allergy) over time. People of all ages have increased rates of asthma and many other illnesses when exposed to second-hand smoke.
Dr. Paige Gutheil
Family Medicine 20 years experience
Yes: Asthma symptoms can be brought out by smoking or smoke exposure. There are many other factors, including a genetic tendency towards asthma involved as well.
Dr. Kathleen Cullen
Internal Medicine 10 years experience
Yes: Asthma can be brought on by numerous factors including allergies, infections, stress, exposures such as smoke, exercise and certain drugs and foods.
Dr. Alan Khadavi
Allergy and Immunology 23 years experience
I agree.
Dec 23, 2011
Dr. Pierre Semrani
Specializes in Family Medicine
Yes: This is sometime called "passive smoking" or "second hand exposure" where individuals with prolonged exposure to smoke inhalation, tend to later develop features of "smoker's lungs" which is somewhat a more severe form of asthma. Think prevention!
Dr. Nisha Chellam
Internal Medicine 32 years experience
Yes: There have been studies that show kids born to smoking parents do indeed have a higher incidence of asthma and hypersensitive airway or lung disease.
Dr. Stanley Weiss
Medical Oncology 44 years experience
In other words, such exposure may contribute to developing asthma. In addiiton, for those who already have asthma, exposure to smoke can exacerbate it.
Jun 4, 2012
Dr. Mary Ann Block
A Verified Doctoranswered
33 years experience
Yes: Absolutely! no one should smoke but there have been cases where smoking around a child with asthma has been considered child abuse. Asthma is a potentially fatal disease and smoking around someone can increase that risk.
Dr. Mary Ann Block
A Verified Doctoranswered
33 years experience
Studies have found that the smoke left on hair, skin and clothing even when smoking outside, can increase the dangers almost as much as smoking in the same room with someone with asthma.
Dr. Steven Machtinger
Allergy and Immunology 45 years experience
Yes: The fetus is most vulnerable to smoking and many studies demonstrate that. Children born to women who smoked during pregnancy have as high a rate of asthma as those born to non-smoking allergic mothers. Children & adults who already have asthma will have increased symptoms & exacerbations when in an environment with tobacco smoke.
Dr. Yoram Padeh
Allergy and Immunology 23 years experience
Yes: Absolutely! the question asks about "second-hand" smoking, which can certainly cause asthma. However, even "third-hand" smoking where the smoke toxins are carried in hair, clothing, skin, etc. Can cause asthma. That means even going outside for a smoke and coming back in without the cigarette can still put loved-ones at risk! smoking is a very selfish and inconsiderate act.
Dr. Gary Steven
Dr. Gary Steven commented
Pediatric Allergy and Asthma 31 years experience
Cotinine, a breakdown product of nicotine, has been found in the urine of children whose parents ONLY smoke outside the home. Any smoking, ANYWHERE, by any family members is bad for children, especially those with asthma.
Nov 20, 2011
Dr. Jason Campbell
Family Medicine 17 years experience
Yes: Smoke - either cigarette or even wood-burning - is considered a respiratory irritant. As such, smoke can cause an inflammatory or respiratory spasm response producing asthma symptoms in any individual - regardless of age.
Dr. Maziar Rezvani
Allergy and Immunology 22 years experience
No: Asthma is not caused by environmental tobacco smoke. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung condition that is characterized by reversible airway obstruction, which is an epigenetic phenomenon. Asthma symptoms include cough, chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath. Smoke is a common trigger for asthma symptoms in addition to colds, cold air, weather changes, pollens or exercise.
Dr. Mary Ann Block
A Verified Doctoranswered
33 years experience
Even smoking outside: Studies have found that even smoking outside can increase asthma risk. The smoke on the clothes, hair and skin when retiring to the inside of the house has been found to be almost as dangerous as smoking inside.
Dr. Kevin Windisch
Pediatrics 26 years experience
Yes: Absolutely. Asthmatic need to avoid any and all tobacco smoke.
Dr. Susan Lurie
Dr. Susan Lurie commented
Specializes in Family Medicine
smoke is the most allergenic substance and should always be avoided around children or asthmatic adults.
Mar 15, 2012
Dr. Bhavin Patel
Allergy and Immunology 26 years experience
Triggers asthma: Smoking and smoke exposure triggers asthma symptoms. Also smoking when the childs airways are developing predisposes the child to develop reactive airways disease, which has symptoms and characteristics similar to asthma and treated the same as asthma.
Dr. Stanley Weiss
Medical Oncology 44 years experience
"Reactive airways disease" is a flawed term, and is not a valid independent concept. Most persons labeled as having reactive airways disease are kids, and most of these have asthma of varying severity. The term mainly arose from some providers being fearful of the response and reactions families sometimes have to the term "asthma." Eduvcation is needed.
Jun 4, 2012
Dr. Barry Bergman
Pediatrics 42 years experience
Caused?: The cause of asthma is mostly genetic but smoke will irritate and can trigger a wheezing episode in one with asthma.

Similar questions

A 18-year-old member asked:

Can smoking pot cause asthma?

4 doctor answers20 doctors weighed in
Dr. Edward Neilsen
Family Medicine 20 years experience
COPD: Not asthma, but smoking anything can lead to COPD (bronchitis or emphysema). Unfortunately, this is worse than asthma because asthma is reversible, but COPD is chronic. Be smart...Don't put anything in your lungs!
Dr. Jack Mutnick
Allergy and Immunology 18 years experience
That is not entirely true. Both diseases are equally awful with long drawn out deaths due to COPD while asthma exacerbations can kill instantaneously. No proof that MJ does NOT contribute to asthma.
Jan 19, 2012
Last updated Sep 30, 2019

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