Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Smoking and Tobacco

Smoke allergies

05/20/2007

Question:

Is it possible for one to be allergic to the smell of smoke and if so what are the symptoms. I am a smoker and smoke outside our home away from my child to avoid them coming into contact with second hand smoke. Does me smelling of smoke count as second hand smoke?

Answer:

It is commendable that you smoke outdoors to protect your child from cigarette smoke. A total home smoking ban showed there were lower levels of the breakdown products of nicotine in children than in those with home smoking bans with limited smoking in the home. Making exceptions to bans on smoking in your home undermines the benefit of a ban.

There is still much to be done to ensure that children live in smoke-free homes. In an Oregon study in 2003, 50% of households with children and a smoker present did not have a full home smoking ban in place.

People who have asthma, hay fever, or allergies can be severely irritated by even small amounts of drifting tobacco smoke. For this reason, it is very important that a smoker not stand in an open doorway to smoke a cigarette as it will filter into the home. “Triggers” can set off a reaction in someone who has allergic symptoms or asthma. Triggers include cold air, tobacco smoke and any strong odors. Smoke odor residual may be a trigger to some individuals - it depends on the individual's unique triggers.

Smokers were nearly 6 times more likely to report smoke-free homes if they lived with a non-smoking adult and child compared to when there was no child or adult non-smoker in the household. They were over 5 times more likely to report a smoke-free home if they believed that secondhand smoke was harmful. There are positives for the smoker themselves. Tobacco control efforts to promote smoke-free homes may give family members the opportunity to encourage smokers to quit, and to modify smokers' behavior in ways that would help them quit and stay quit.

For more information:

Go to the Smoking and Tobacco health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor Emeritus
College of Public Health
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University