Asthma is a chronic health condition whose symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Asthma has become very common in children. In the U.S., it is the number one reason children are admitted to hospitals.
Secondhand smoke has been shown to cause new cases of asthma in children who did not have asthma before. It also has been shown to make children’s existing asthma worse. Children with asthma who are exposed to secondhand smoke have more severe symptoms, use more medication, and miss more days of school than those not exposed.
Although many causes of asthma are not fully understood, secondhand smoke is one important cause and it is avoidable. Each year in California, secondhand smoke may cause up to 31,000 asthma attacks in children.