I’m 22 years old and I’ve been smoking for five years. I have had asthma all my life. What are the risks of smoking with asthma? Also how can I quit? I have tried several times and I just can’t stand the withdrawals. What makes me so addicted?
When it comes to health, there is not one good word to be said about smoking.
You have no doubt heard the list of known health hazards — lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, skin damage and many, many more. Many people your age view these as distant threats that will not affect them for years and years, if at all. Or they believe they will be able to quit before the time comes to pay the piper.
With asthma, smoking will increase the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. From your own experience, look back to your pre-smoking years and see if that is true for you. I would guess it is.
Smokers tend to get more frequent colds, bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses, all of which are asthma triggers. There are also indications that, over a period of years, asthmatics who smoke have a greater decline in lung function, meaning your breathing ability, than those who do not smoke.
We are also seeing increased rates of asthma and rising numbers of deaths from asthma. We still do not know why this is occurring, but it is certainly possible that smoking somehow plays a role when combined with other risk factors.
The addictive component of cigarettes is nicotine, which is a lethal chemical and one of the most addictive substances around. Do not get down on yourself for being unable to quit thus far, but you should not give up trying. Most people make numerous attempts before they finally succeed in getting the monkey off their back.
Remember that every time you quit and fail, you learn things that can help you do better the next time. Your strong desire to quit is a big step on the road. Keep taking steps, big ones, little ones, even an occasional backward step, and eventually you will get where you are going.
The experts tell us that planning is the key to permanent success. There is no single method that will work for each individual. Fortunately, there are many options and quitting aids from which you can put together your own strategy for a smoke-free future. Not everybody feels the benefits of quitting immediately, but in your case, there may well be short-term rewards in terms of easier breathing and fewer asthma attacks.