In an odd twist of logic, it appears some teens with asthma actually think smoking helps them.
Researchers in Mexico surveyed more than 3,300 teens between the ages of 13 and 19. They found teens with asthma were twice as likely, at 22 percent, to smoke as compared to those without asthma (12 percent).
The questionnaires revealed that kids with asthma who began smoking before age 11 continued to do so through their teens because they thought it reduced their anxiety and stress. This was the case even though they were aware it was addictive and bad for their lungs.
They said they commonly smoked when waking up in the morning or when they were sick.
The research, presented at the 2016 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology conference in San Francisco, showed that most kids, with and without asthma, started smoking because they were curious.
The ACAAI reminded people that tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke, is one of the most common asthma triggers.
“Kids with asthma already have trouble breathing,” said ACAAI fellow Dr. Gailen Marshall of the University of Mississippi. “If you have asthma it’s important that you avoid exposure to cigarette smoke of any kind. Smoking makes breathing much harder for kids with asthma.”