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Journal/Book/Conference Title

BMC Public Health





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Date of Submission

September 2017



Smoking has a detrimental effect on the symptoms and severity of asthma, a common chronic disease among adolescents. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between asthma and smoking among high school students and assess provider-patient communication with asthmatic adolescents regarding smoking and adolescents’ beliefs about the harms of smoking.


In fall 2014, data from high school students, ages 14–18 years, completing the 2009-2010 Virginia Youth Tobacco Survey (N = 1796) were used in descriptive analyses and multivariable logistic regression models adjusting for model-specific confounders as appropriate.


Overall, an estimated 19 % of high school students in Virginia smoked and 16 % had asthma. Odds of smoking did not differ by asthma status; however, asthmatics had 1.5 times higher odds of being asked if they smoke (95 % CI 1.06–2.13) and being advised not to smoke by a health professional (95 % CI 1.10–2.14) compared to non-asthmatics. Asthmatics who believed second-hand smoke or smoking 1–5 cigarettes/day was not harmful had respectively 4.2 and 2.8 times higher odds of smoking than those who thought each was harmful. Further, asthmatics who thought smoking 1−2 years is safe had 3.4 times higher odds of smoking than those who did not (95 % CI 1.57–10.1).


While asthmatic adolescents are just as likely to smoke as non-asthmatics, less healthy beliefs about the risks of smoking increase the odds of smoking among asthmatics. Thus, targeted asthma-specific smoking prevention and education to change attitudes and beliefs could be an effective tool for adolescents.


© 2016 The Author(s). Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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VCU Family Medicine and Population Health Publications