Asthma UK comments on launch of Breathe Better Together Campaign

Kay Boycott, Chief Executive of Asthma UK, says; "Air pollution plays a role in triggering asthma attacks and causing asthma in both children and adults. Nitrogen dioxide is a harmful pollutant that increases the risk of a potentially life threatening asthma attack, and so practical measures such as local monitors and text messaging to warn people at risk when high levels are imminent are welcome. When air pollution is high it's vital that the 1 in 11 people with asthma in London check air pollution forecasts; carry their reliever inhaler with them at all times; and have an up to dave an up to date written asthma action plan so they know what to do if their symptoms worsen. Tragically three people a day still die from an asthma attack every day and two of these deaths are preventable. Anyone who is concerned about how pollution may affect their asthma can call our Helpline on 0300 222 5800 or visit www.asthma.org.uk."

Comment from research lead at MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma:

Professor Jonathan Grigg, research lead at MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, says: "Everyone has the right to the cleanest air possible, especially people with respiratory conditions such as asthma. Although it is difficult in urban areas to reduce your exposure to air pollutants, there are some things that people with respiratory conditions can do to reduce the negative impact air pollution has on their health. Text monitoring systems in cities like London help you to determine if it's a day of high pollution and you can manage your day accordingly. But, in the long-term we also need more research into this area so that we can develop comprehensive, evidence based guidelines which can further reduce the health impacts of air pollution on people with conditions such as asthma."

Facts and stats:

  • 42% of people with asthma have told us that traffic fumes discourage them from walking or shopping in congested areas.
  • 29% of people with asthma have told us that a reduction in air pollution is the single thing that would make the most difference to their quality of life; some have even told us they feel unable to leave their own homes for fear of having an asthma attack on days of high air pollution.
  • 85% of people with asthma have told us that they are concerned about the effect that increasing traffic fumes will have on their and their family's health in the future.