Asthma and cigarette smoking: a review of the empirical literature

J Asthma. 2010 May;47(4):345-61. doi: 10.3109/02770900903556413.


The purpose of this review paper is to present and evaluate the empirical literature on the association between asthma and cigarette smoking. The authors conducted a literature search utilizing electronic search engines (i.e., PsycINFO and MEDLINE) to examine databases using the following key word algorithms: smoking OR nicotine OR tobacco AND asthma. Only articles that focused on active tobacco smoking and analyzed groups with asthma patients only were examined in the present review. Overall, empirical evidence suggests that (1) smoking is more prevalent among individuals with asthma than those without; (2) smoking is a risk candidate for the development of asthma; (3) smoking is associated with decreased asthma control and increased risk of mortality and asthma attacks and exacerbations; (4) smokers with and without asthma may have different risk factors for smoking onset as well as different smoking motives and outcome expectancies; and (5) smoking cessation is associated with improvements in lung functioning and asthma symptoms. Future work in this domain of study will lead to clinically relevant health care advances as well as the development of theoretically driven, methodologically diverse lines of research exploring asthma-smoking comorbidity issues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / mortality
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Socioeconomic Factors