Coffee Break May: World Asthma Day

Published at 07 May, 2024 06:00.

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World Asthma Day -7th May “Asthma Education Empowers “

World Asthma Day 2024 - Global Initiative for Asthma - GINA (

WAD is held every May to raise awareness of Asthma worldwide. Asthma is a lung condition with no cure that causes breathing difficulties which can vary in severity and effects people of all ages, often starting in childhood, although can develop or be diagnosed for the first time as an adult. It is one of the most common chronic non communicable diseases, effecting over 260 million people!

Asthma is caused by inflammation of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. When you have asthma, these tubes are highly sensitive because of the inflammation and they temporarily narrow and can cause breathlessness, a tight feeling in the chest, a cough, and wheezing. If these symptoms become worse, they can increase to an asthma attack.

Asthma is responsible for around 455,000 deaths worldwide each year. Tobacco smoke is a strong asthma trigger, and your asthma can worsen if exposed to cigarette smoke.  Toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke irritate the lining of your lungs, worsening your symptoms of asthma and potentially triggering an asthma attack.

These toxic chemicals are present in your own tobacco smoke and other peoples. Passive smoking, when you breathe in someone else’s cigarette, pipe, or cigar smoke, can trigger your asthma. Tobacco smoke takes approximately 5 hours to be cleared from a room after someone has smoked and sticks onto soft furnishings in the house.

Being exposed to tobacco smoke as a baby or child increases the risk of getting asthma and increases the risk of having more severe asthma attacks as their lungs have not developed and fully grown yet.  One of the best things you can do for your children`s or your grandchildren’s lung health is to make sure they are not breathing in tobacco smoke. Even if you smoke away from your child, you can still bring smoke back into your home on your clothes. This is also a risk to a child`s lungs as they breathe in the smoke that is on your clothes. Smoking in an enclosed space such as your car is a high-risk area for exposure to dangerous chemicals from smoking, even with the window open. Children are very vulnerable to exposure to smoke in cars and it is illegal to smoke in a vehicle with anyone under 18 in it.

Babies exposed to tobacco smoke in the womb have an increased chance of getting asthma in childhood as tobacco smoke slows down the development of the babies’ lungs and makes their lungs more sensitive to air pollution as they get older.  It also increases the chance of premature birth or low birth weight, and this also increases the risk of your child developing a lung condition such as asthma.

People who smoke or are exposed to other people’s smoke are more susceptible to getting flu or pneumonia. Empower yourself with the knowledge that you will be looking after your own lung health and your family’s lung health by stopping smoking this May.

NHS Stop Smoking Service - Yorkshire Smokefree