I was talking to my sister the other day, and she made a comment that turned into a slightly heated discussion between us. She said that she knows people who have asthma (I have it, she does not) who have told her they have more trouble with their asthma and with breathing when they try to quit. She said they've told her they breathe better when they smoke. I told her they may 'think' they're having problems because when you stop smoking you go through withdrawal which can make your chest feel 'funny' and tight, but to say they breathe better when they're smoking doesn't really make much sense if she thinks about it. I mean, come on. Well, after several minutes of going back and forth with her on this, I just changed the subject. Can anyone out there please explain to me what exactly smoking does to an asthmatic's lungs so when it comes up again, I can state facts to support my arguement?
I would doubt that it makes the asthma better. The tobacco probably calms them and makes them feel better but the asthma is probably just as bad. Tobacco might possibly be a brochial dialator though so who knows.
Tobacco smoke temporarily paralyzes the cilia in your lungs, allowing mucus and irritants to build up. When the cilia begin working again, the typical response is to begin coughing the buildup out of your chest, which could simulate and exacerbate asthma symptoms. For many smokers this occurs in the morning upon waking, after 8 or so hours without smoking. Quitting can have a similar effect which naturally lasts longer, as there's no morning cigarette to start the cycle again.
Some people with asthma are able to smoke without short-term difficulty, but I have a hard time believing there is any real benefit to doing so.
Smoke is an irritant and will cause bronchoconstriction and will cause inflammation and is not good for your lungs.
But these people might be having trouble quitting smoking, and might be using it as an excuse.
That's their prerogative to quit smoking. Next time your sister gets in an argument about it, tell her to go to the local University and apply for a grant to research it, because you're not arguing until she comes back with the papers recording her findings.
I've been an asthmatic for 40 something years & was a smoker for around 20 years (around 20 a day). It's 5 years now since I had my last cigarette.
I can honestly say that over the years, smoking has never made much difference as to whether my asthma was better or worse. Being amongst smokers doesn't bother my lungs either. At the moment my asthma is pretty well controlled with just Advair 250 but it's been far worse at times since I stopped smoking, no different to when I was a smoker.
I was really disappointed when I stopped smoking because I didn't smell things better or taste things better, like all the leaflets tell you & while my lungs cleared themselves out, there were times I felt I must've coughed up half a lung. The memory of that alone is enough to put me off ever smoking again
I'd say that in the long run, I've probably done myself & my lungs a huge favour by not polluting them. I think though, if I'd found that smoking made my asthma worse I'd have given up years before. I once spoke to a doctor who told me that smoking a couple of cigarettes a day probably wasn't a bad thing as it irritated the airways & kept them open. Strange thing to hear a doctor saying that. I was also told by a doctor that I should get rid of a pet bird because it was causing my asthma. I did that & it made not a blind bit of difference.
In the past I've smoked hash & found that acted as a good bronchodilator. Doctors have agreed with me but at the moment it's only being experimented with in some of our hospitals as an analgesic - shame
Well, that was really interesting. Now I understand why they may think they breathe better with smoking then without. I still think they're nuts but at least I understand now. Thanks so much guys, I do believe I will be a little more informed if the discussion ever comes up again.