What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. The symptoms of having asthma include:
• Chest Tightness
• Loss Of Breath (especially during exercise)
• Wheezing and Coughing
The condition can affect anyone at any time however it usually starts at childhood.
Why Do People Get Asthma?
To understand how asthma works we will have a quick biology lesson. Don’t worry you are not back at school now and if you don’t want to pay attention to this part it is ok to skip to the next section, seriously, you are not going to get put in detention for it – however it is advised you do in order to understand the condition better. A persons airways (which can be seen on the diagram) are basically the transport corridors that carry air into and out of the lungs. Now, people that suffer from asthma have inflamed airways which make them very swollen and sensitive. This can result in the muscles in these passages constricting therefore restricting the amount of air that is able to pass into the lungs. In some people the cells in the airways can also overproduce mucus resulting in a further narrowing of the airways.
Whenever this happens it can bring on an asthma attack. Symptoms can happen each time the airways are inflamed.
What Does Smoking Have To Do With This?
Smoking is bad for asthma sufferers for four main reasons:
1. When a smoker inhales tobacco smoke, irritating substances line the lining of the airways triggering the asthma.
2. Smoking also damages the cilia which when fully functional are used to help keep the airways dust and mucus free.
3. Smoke inhalation causes the lungs to make more mucus than normal, again restricting those already narrow airways narrower.
4. Smoking can block the benefit of the asthma medicines therefore rendering them useless.
Important Note: Since children have smaller airways than that of an adult, second hand smoke can be very dangerous for a child who suffers from asthma.
Electronic Cigarettes And Asthma
As seen above Asthma is a respiratory disease and as tobacco smoke contains a whole ‘cocktail’ of harmful toxic chemicals that cause respiratory issues including bringing on and worsening asthma it is very important if you are a asthmatic to quit. Since with electronic cigarettes there is no combustion, there is no smoke produced. In a study performed on the effects with e cigs and asthma patients the results found no immediate effect to airway resistance – unlike with a regular cigarette no poisonous gasses and chemicals are released as a result of the combustion causing irritation to the airways.
If you are a smoker and are thinking of using an electronic cigarette to help you quit we recommend that you first consult with your local GP for advice.