May 6, 2008 - Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that makes airways (bronchial tubes) particularly sensitive to irritants, and this is characterized by difficulty in breathing. Globally, the prevalence of asthma continues to escalate with more than 300 million sufferers around the world. In many countries the annual asthma death toll rises year in, year out. In the United States, an estimated 23.2 million people currently suffer from asthma, almost 9 million of whom are under the age of 18 - that's 12 percent of all children. Asthma is the leading chronic illness of children in the United States and the leading cause of school absenteeism due to chronic illness. It causes almost 500,000 hospitalizations and about 5,000 deaths annually. Asthma affects people of all ages, it often starts in childhood and is more common in children than adults. More boys have asthma than girls, but in adulthood, more women have asthma than men. Although asthma is a problem among all races, blacks have more asthma attacks and are more likely than whites to be hospitalized for asthma attacks or to die from asthma.
Tobacco smoke can be a powerful asthma trigger setting off an asthmatic attack with the person unable to breath. Even children who don't have asthma are at risk of problems if their parents smoke. These kids are more likely to get upper respiratory infections and develop lung conditions, including asthma. We can assume that all parents that bring a child into the world want the best for their child. If you have to smoke do not smoke in the presence of your children especially in the house and when driving your car. References: World Asthma Day 2008: You Can Control Your Asthma!, Asthma Insights, Smoking and Asthma, Kids Health for Parents. Some Smoking and Asthma News Briefs: February 16, 2008, February 14, 2008, February 12, 2008, June 11, 2007, June 4, 2007 and March 10, 2007.