Yes, your smoking will affect your child with newly diagnosed asthma. Your child will be affected in many different ways. Every child today knows that “smoking is bad for you.” Some are aware of the links between cigarette smoking and lung diseases such as emphysema. Others know about smoking and lung cancer, as well as the fact that cigarette smoking causes heart disease and stroke. Your smoking adversely affects your health and decreases your life expectancy; both factors certainly impact your children. Children of parents who smoke are more likely to become smokers in adolescence and beyond. Your smoking provides a bad model for your child who is much more likely to do as you do rather than do as you say. Children raised in a home with smokers have an increased risk of developing asthma.
Your child has just been diagnosed with asthma. Look at it from your son or daughter’s perspective. Until the diagnosis was made and medicine prescribed, he or she was experiencing asthma symptoms. To get an idea of what that might be like, try a simple experiment. Get a very narrow straw or plastic coffee stirrer and place it in your mouth. Breathe through the narrow straw (or plastic coffee stirrer) by pinching your nostrils together. Then, march briskly in place. You will become aware of a very uncomfortable sensation of breathing, and it will take a great deal of effort to keep marching in place. The breathing experiment you have just performed approximates how it might feel to breathe through constricted breathing passages. Your child has been feeling poorly, has undergone a medical evaluation, and now has to take medicine and adapt to his or her new diagnosis. Depending on the child and his or her age, as well as the severity of the asthma, the entire family is entering a period of change and adaptation. As a parent, you may be experiencing increased stress. If you are a smoker, you may crave cigarettes more intensely than usual. Cigarette smoking is a universal asthma trigger. Your continued smoking will contribute to increased symptoms in your child, along with an increased medication requirement. My advice: Seriously consider smoking cessation, both for your health and that of your children.