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Study Finds Strong Smoking-Asthma Link

THURSDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- The link between smoking and asthma may be even stronger than previously suspected, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from a large, epidemiological survey of American adults (the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication) and found that people who were diagnosed with asthma were 1.26 times more likely to have been a smoker and about twice as likely to have been nicotine dependent at some point in their lives, compared to those without asthma.

The link between asthma and smoking was even stronger among adults who said they'd been nicotine dependent in the previous 12 months.

"Individuals with asthma were nearly three times as likely as those without asthma to have reported nicotine dependence in the past 12 months after controlling for demographic and drug abuse/dependence variables," Alison McLeish, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Cincinnati, and her colleagues wrote in the study.

About half of the smokers with asthma said they started smoking before they were diagnosed with asthma. These adults were diagnosed with asthma at a much later age than those who began smoking after they were diagnosed with asthma.

The proportion of people who had been nicotine dependent at some point in their lives was similar among those who started smoking before (29.3 percent) or after (25.7) they were diagnosed with asthma.

The study appears online in the Journal of Health Psychology.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about asthma.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Cincinnati, news release, April 1, 2011

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