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Only a quarter of people understand the environmental impact of inhalers

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Inhaler Pic The NHS estimates that 3.5% of its carbon footprint comes from pMDIs

Only a quarter (25%) of British people are aware that different inhalers have different environmental impacts, research conducted by GSK has found.

Within the UK, there are two main inhaler device types: pressured metered dose inhalers (pMDI) and dry powder inhalers (DPI), which have different environmental impacts. GSK’s research indicates that healthcare practitioners are better informed about the impact inhalers have on the environment. However there is still awareness to be gained, as from 550 healthcare professionals surveyed, 60% did not know that some preventer inhalers produce more greenhouse gases than others, while 67% were not aware that pMDIs produce more greenhouse gases than DPIs.

‘Everyone is much more aware of their impact on the environment, including health care professionals and the patients we care for. We are making many more green choices every day – reusable cups, bags, straws and other greener options,’ said GP Steve Holmes.

‘We are becoming more aware of the total impact of respiratory inhalers which includes the gas emissions, production and transportation costs, as well as the use of reusable plastics, metals and other valuable resources. Halving the amount of emissions from inhalers would be equivalent to approximately 230,000 fewer cars on UK roads, it’s time to take action.'

The NHS Sustainable Development Unit has estimated that 3.5% of the NHS’ total carbon footprint comes from pressured metered-dose inhalers, which have around 18 times the carbon emissions of DPIs.

‘It is really important to stress that there remains an important role for pressured metered dose inhalers where there is a clinical need or where dry powder inhalers may not be suitable for the patient. However, where clinically appropriate, patients should be offered a lower carbon inhaler choice which, together with environmentally safe disposal, will make a positive impact on the environment.’

More information on the campaign can be found at

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