Cigarette smoke, with its 4000 harmful chemicals, is a major asthma trigger. Tobacco smoke irritates the airways in the lungs, causing the cells to produce lots of mucus (phlegm). The normal cleaning action of the lungs is also affected so that the mucus and other irritants are not removed. This means that smokers and those exposed to cigarette smoke are more prone to chest and throat infections. This may trigger or worsen asthma symptoms.
What happens if I have asthma and I smoke?
· makes your asthma worse
· may increase the frequency of asthma attacks
· makes asthma control more difficult
· increases the chances of permanently damaging the airways; and
· makes asthma medication less effective.
Smoking and Pregnancy
Smoking during pregnancy makes it harder for the baby to get the oxygen and nourishment he or she needs and places unnecessary stress on the baby’s heart. Every puff a pregnant woman takes on a cigarette increases the level of carbon monoxide in her bloodstream, which replaces oxygen in her blood, so the amount of oxygen available for the baby through the umbilical cord is reduced. Nicotine also causes a reduction in the baby’s “practice” breathing movements in the womb.
When a pregnant woman smokes, her baby is being exposed to the same high level of poisons as she is. Once the baby is born, he or she can also suffer when other people smoke around them. This is known as passive smoking.
It is also harmful if a father smokes around a mother and may increase the risk of a baby being born with a lower birth weight. The more the father smokes, the more chance there is of the unborn baby having poor health outcomes.
Newborns Asthma and Parental Smoking (NAPS) Project ‘Care for my air!’ and ‘Fresh air grows solid babies!’
The Newborns Asthma and Parental Smoking (NAPS) Project promotes the non Indigenous health message ‘Care for my air!’ and Indigenous health message ‘Fresh air grows solid babies’ and encourages pregnant women, new mothers and their families to protect the foetus and newborn from passive smoke. Exposure to tobacco smoke whilst pregnant (or as an infant) can increase the risk of asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the baby being born an unhealthy birth weight.
· Smoking and Pregnancy Programs
· Newborn Asthma and Parental Smoking Project (NAPS) Website