Asthma is a prevalent chronic pulmonary condition with significant morbidity and mortality. Tobacco smoking is implicated in asthma pathophysiology, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Smokers display increased prevalence and incidence of asthma, but a causal association cannot be claimed using existing evidence. Second-hand smoking and passive exposure to tobacco in utero and early life have also been linked with asthma development. Currently, approximately one-fourth of asthma patients are smokers. Regular smokers with asthma might display accelerated lung function decline and non-reversible airflow limitation, making their distinction from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients challenging. Asthma patients who smoke typically have uncontrolled disease, as shown by increased symptoms, more exacerbations and impaired quality of life. On the other hand, smoking cessation improves lung function and asthma severity. Thus, asthma patients and their caregivers should be actively questioned about their smoking status at each medical encounter, and smoking cessation ought to be strongly encouraged both for patients with asthma and their close contacts. Smokers with asthma should be provided with comprehensive smoking cessation interventions on top of other anti-asthma medications.
Keywords: asthma; exacerbations; smoking; tobacco.