Public Release: 

Teens with asthma almost twice as likely to smoke as their healthy counterparts

Study finds they believe it lessens their anxiety and stress

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (November 11, 2016) - Curiosity is a driving factor in why most kids start smoking, and the same is true for kids with asthma. A study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting found adolescents with asthma were twice as likely to smoke as kids without asthma. And they continue to smoke well into their teen years, even though they know smoking is particularly bad for their lungs.

"The study found 22 percent of the kids with asthma smoked, while only 12 percent of kids without asthma smoked," said allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, ACAAI Fellow, and asthma expert. "The researchers discovered that curiosity about cigarette smoking is the main reason why kids with asthma start smoking. They then develop a greater dependence (22 percent) to nicotine compared to kids the same age who don't have asthma (12 percent)." Dr. Chipps was not involved with the study.

The study examined more than 3,300 questionnaires from adolescents between 13-19 years of age. Two groups were formed - those with asthma and those without. The data from the questionnaires revealed teens with asthma who began smoking before 11 years of age continue smoking because they believe the habit lessens their anxiety and stress.

According to the study authors, the adolescents surveyed indicated they knew smoking was addictive, but often smoked when waking up in the morning or when they were sick. "Despite their knowledge that smoking is bad for their health, the adolescents with asthma didn't consider smoking to be a problem," said Dr. Chipps.

ACAAI says that tobacco smoke - including secondhand smoke - is one of the most common asthma triggers, and is unhealthy for everyone. "Kids with asthma already have trouble breathing," says Gailen Marshall, MD, PhD, ACAAI Fellow. Dr. Marshall was also not involved with the study, but will be speaking at the meeting on the topic of managing asthma through lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking. "If you have asthma, it's important that you avoid exposure to cigarette smoke of any kind. Smoking makes breathing much harder for kids with asthma."

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Abstract Title: Epidemiological profile of smoking and nicotine addiction among asthmatic adolescents

Author: Francisco Vazquez-Nava, PhD

For more information about allergies and to locate an allergist in your area, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. The ACAAI Annual Meeting is November 10-14, 2016 at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco, CA. For more news and research from the ACAAI Scientific Meeting, go to our newsroom - and follow the conversation on Twitter #ACAAI16.

About ACAAI

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

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