Asthma patients could sharply reduce their carbon footprint by swapping commonly used inhalers for “greener” alternatives, a study from the University of Cambridge has found.

By swapping metered-dose inhalers for dry powder inhalers, asthma patients could reduce their carbon emissions equivalent to reducing their meat consumption or recycling, researchers said Wednesday. Metered-dose inhalers contain liquified, compressed gas hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) — a greenhouse gas — which acts as a propellant to atomize the drug being delivered and to pump it out to the user.

Seven out of 10 of the 50 million inhalers prescribed in England in 2017 were metered-dose inhalers. Researchers found that these metered-dose inhalers contribute 3.9% of the carbon footprint of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

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