photo of inhaler
Hayley Carmichael
Communications Manager
2 minute read

NHS England's South-East Regional Greener NHS team are working in partnership with Sussex ICB, Kent and Medway ICB and Frimley ICB to launch GP and patient-facing videos to raise awareness of Dry-powdered inhalers (DPI) as a lower carbon alternative to Metered Dose Inhalers (MDI's).

The videos advocate the use of more sustainable DPI's for respiratory conditions, encouraging both patients and clinicians who can prescribe, to make the switch when clinically appropriate. With real patients featured, the videos help address any concerns a patient may have about making a switch to their inhalers.

What is the difference between Dry-powder Inhalers and Metered-dose Inhalers?

MDI's use a gas trigger, which propels medication from the inhaler to the lungs. The gas propellant can leak into the air when used and carries a high cabon footprint.

DPI's do not use a gas propellant, they contain the medication in the form of dry powder. This inhaler relies on a fast and deep breath to carry the medication straight to the lungs which is why clinicians will explore a switch with patients to make sure it is the right choice for them. DPI's usually contain a dose counter, allowing users to keep track of their medication intake which can make it easier to stay on track with taking the meds.


a leaflet describing how to tackle climate change through inhalers

What are the environmental impacts of Metered-dose inhalers?

These inhalers contain a greenhouse gas in the propellant that contributes to climate change. MDI's can have a carbon footprint equivalent to a journey by car from Brighton to Birmingham – more than 170 miles! 

a diagram explaining the effects on inhalers on climate change. 1 Ventolin = 282km of travel. 1 Salamol = 100km of travel

What can I do to help?

As a clinician you can talk to your patients about the inhalers they use to see if it is appropriate to make a switch.

As a patient you can discuss with your clinicians your inhaler technique, so you are getting the best from it whether it is a MDI or DPI inhaler. Good inhaler technique also helps to reduce the carbon footprint of their use.You can also explore with them the benefits of trying a Dry-powdered inhaler.


Watch the videos here which may help answer any questions you have around making an inhaler switch.