Men who smoke could be increasing asthma chances for their future children

Posted at 4:55 PM, Sep 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-17 16:55:27-04

We know the research shows that smoking parents can affect the health of their child. But now new research shows that fathers who smoke before the child is even conceived have a greater chance of having a child with asthma.

The European Lung Foundation just released the data from a study of the smoking habits of 13,000 men and women. The study didn’t give a specific number, but said the number was significant.

That information isn’t surprising to Amy Paulson, Community Outreach Director at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

“We see the child’s risk of asthma increase if the father smoked before the age of 15 even, and the risk grows as they age,” she says.

And Paulson says it’s not even the smoke itself that can cause problems.

“If you smoked in the home prior to when the baby gets there, those harmful toxins are still on your tables, your couch. Particulate matter clings to your clothing,” she says.

And all of that exposure, she says, is linked to a higher rate of not only asthma, but Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and cancer.

Even though Paulson and her husband are non-smokers, this is a subject close to her heart. She is a nationally certified asthma educator as well as a mother of a child who has asthma.

“To see your child gasping for air and understanding that it’s not just a little bit of wheeze… Asthma can be fatal and has been fatal to children in this community,” she says.

Her advice to smoking parents is to get help and quit as soon as possible. It can be done.

If you’re a smoke and you’d like help quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. It’s a hotline where you can get free held and even coaching on how to quit smoking.