Asthma Patients May Reduce Their Carbon Footprint By Using New ‘Greener’ Inhalers

It is quite commonplace to see people living with asthma trying different types of inhalers to find relief. A new study conducted by the University of Cambridge shows that people living with asthma may mitigate their carbon footprint if they use new greener inhalers. The study authors think people with asthma may benefit by using new dry powder inhalers. However, they should not change inhalers without seeking medical advice. Inhalers are used to release medicine into the lungs to treat symptoms. It helps in widening the airways and so the victims can breathe easily.

The popular and widely used Metered-dose inhalers have liquid compressed gas HFA, which is deemed a greenhouse gas. A majority of inhalers prescribed in England are metered-dose inhalers. The dry powder inhalers, as well as aqueous mist inhalers, are now available, and the researchers think these are better. However, the biggest hurdle is the steep price tag of the dry powder inhalers, and that can slow down adoption. The study found carbon footprints of prevalent metered-dose inhalers were over 35 % of that of dry powder inhalers. The researchers also figured out that an asthma patient can save 150-400 kg of CO2 per year by switching to “greener” alternatives. On average, the global population of asthma victims stands at 235 million. This is the figure released by the WHO. So mass switchover to greener inhalers can be beneficial for the environment.

The study author James Smith, associated with the University of Cambridge, said that global warming is a menace and requires remedial measures. The study shows how changing greener inhalers can bring twin benefits for the asthma victims, he added. The new inhalers could help individuals, and these are also better for the climate. This is a much-needed step to be taken for deploying a zero-carbon healthcare system. Another author of this study, Alexander Wilkinson, stressed that people living with asthma should not switch medications on their own. While using an environmentally-friendly inhaler is recommended, they must seek the opinion of their doctors to find what is most suitable for their conditions.