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Smoking Cessation Improves Lung Function in Asthmatics

Effects of cessation found to exceed those of high-dose anti-inflammatory treatment

FRIDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- In smokers with asthma, smoking cessation significantly improves lung function within one to six weeks, according to a study published in the July 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Neil C. Thomson, M.D., of the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and colleagues studied 32 asthmatics, 11 of whom opted to continue smoking, 10 of whom quit smoking for six weeks. They administered spirometry to both groups at baseline and at weeks one, three and six.

At six weeks, the researchers found a mean difference in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) of 407 mL between the quit group and the smoking group and also found a 29 percent decrease in the proportion of sputum neutrophils in the quit group.

"The improvement in lung function seen after smoking cessation was clinically significant," the authors state. "This demonstrates that there is a reversible component to the harmful effects of smoking on the airways in asthma. The degree of improvement noted by smoking cessation far exceeds that of high-dose anti-inflammatory treatment, such as oral prednisolone, 40 mg daily for two weeks, which had no effect on lung function in smokers in our current study and in our previous work."

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