Inhaler carbon footprint

He Ako Hiringa
1 December 2023

Inhaler carbon footprint

Metered dose inhalers such as salbutamol contain hydrofluorocarbon propellants, powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The estimated carbon footprint of a 200-puff salbutamol inhaler is 28kg of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-e).1 This is comparable to driving ~225km (eg, Auckland to Tauranga), assuming average car emissions of 125g CO2-e/km.

Dry powder inhalers do not use propellants and have a footprint of around 1kg CO2-e per inhaler.1 Reducing use of salbutamol without maintenance therapy by switching to SMART/AIR where appropriate, and avoiding excessive salbutamol use (≥6 inhalers/year)2 can improve asthma management with the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

View dispensing data for salbutamol inhalers and the associated carbon footprint at EPiC Asthma.


  1. PrescQIPP. Inhaler carbon footprint. Published October 2022. Accessed October 31, 2023.
  2. He Ako Hiringa. EPiC Asthma dashboard. Accessed November 2023.

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