Scottish Government plans to introduce a new “green” inhaler to asthma patients has been branded “knee-jerk nonsense” by a leading charity.
The plans would see the introduction of new dry powder inhalers which use the patients own breath to deliver the medicine.
However, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAF) say the inhalers could prove extremely dangerous for asthma sufferers.
The charity says sufferers overwhelmingly prefer the existing metred-dose device, which delivers air to the patient’s lungs at 70 mph.
The charity chief Martina Chukwuma-Ezike warned the plan would ironically cause more harm to the environment through increased hospital admissions, ambulance journeys are treatments.
However, the Scottish Government insist no one will be asked to switch medication and say a more environmentally friendly inhaler will only be offered where “clinically appropriate”.
Ms Chukwuma-Ezike, who is also rector of Aberdeen University, branded the plans a “life and death issue”.
She said: “I suffer from an extreme form of ‘brittle’ asthma which could kill me if I do not have the right inhaler. This is a life and death issue for hundreds of thousands of Scots.
“Me, and many like me, will not use the new dry powder inhaler because it simply does not work when we need it most, like during a severe attack. Ministers need to urgently review this policy before people die.
“These are people’s lives we are talking about. Lives that should not be sacrificed on the alter of some nonsense, green agenda dreamed up by people who do not know the first thing of what it is like to live with asthma.
“Why don’t the Scottish Government switch its attention to tackling toxic air pollution, which is once again at dangerous levels in Scottish cities and is the biggest trigger for asthma attacks?
“The consequences which will result from this kind of low-level, virtue-signalling are too terrible to contemplate.”
Scotland has approximately 400,000 asthma patients with 113 asthma deaths across the country in 2020.
Research conducted by the AAF found that a child is admitted to hospital with a life-threatening asthma attack every 20 minutes.
Studies also show that children from impoverished backgrounds and four times more likely to suffer from an asthma attack.
Commenting on the scientific basis for the introduction of green inhalers Ms Chukwuma-Ezike said: “The scientific case is totally bogus. The F gases that we are talking about account for one per cent of greenhouse gases. And inhalers account for two per cent of F gases. That means foam silly string produces twice as much greenhouse as the inhalers the Scottish government is trying to outlaw.”
She added: “Ironically, the environmental cost of these ‘green’ inhalers will be massive. More overnight hospital stays, more ambulance journeys, more treatment. They also contain a lot of plastics and cannot be recycled. The cost of this badly though-out initiative will potentially cause greater global warming. You couldn’t make it up.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “This claim is wrong – no one will be asked to switch to medication that is not right for them.
“As part of any review and only where clinically appropriate and safe to do so, they may be offered to try a more environmentally friendly inhaler, only when agreed with their prescriber.”