Updated 02 August 2017

Your smoking habits and your child's asthma

Your smoking does affect your child’s lungs and his risk for asthma. Don’t fool yourself into believing otherwise.


Consider these facts:

  • Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with increased wheezing during infancy, cautions the The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
  • Children are more susceptible to the effects of secondhand smoke because their lungs are still developing.
  • Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from bronchitis and pneumonia, ear infections, coughing and wheezing and more frequent and severe asthma attacks.

It's essential that children with any history of asthma (no matter how well controlled) shouldn't be exposed to secondhand smoke – not in their own home or anywhere else.

How to keep your home smoke free
Here are a few tips from The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:

  • Choose not to smoke in your home. Do not permit others to smoke in your home.
  • Choose not to smoke if any children are present, especially children younger than six years. They are especially vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke.
  • Do not allow babysitters or others who work in your home to smoke in the house or near young children.
  • If you must smoke, choose to smoke outside. Moving to another room or opening a window is not enough to protect your children.   


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Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

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