Kay Boycott

Air pollution and asthma

25 July 2016

Asthma UK’s Chief Executive Kay Boycott explains how air pollution affects people with asthma…

Imagine waking up one morning and having to decide whether leaving your house is worth ending up in hospital for?

That’s the reality for people with asthma when pollution levels are high. Two thirds of people with asthma say air pollution leaves them fighting for breath.

This puts them at a higher risk of a potentially fatal asthma attack.

During the Saharan dust episode in April 2014, we polled over 1,000 people with asthma. Almost a third of respondents told us that had suffered an asthma attack because of the pollution.

Eighty-four per cent reported using their blue reliever inhaler more than usual. Over half said they had avoided going outside and 39 per cent had sought advice about managing their asthma.

In London, nearly 600,000 people are living with asthma. Air pollution, particularly traffic fumes, plays a role in both triggering asthma attacks and causing asthma in children and adults.

Many people with asthma feel the effects of air pollution on a daily basis. Like many asthma triggers, pollution is very difficult to avoid.

Personally, I’d like to see more done to clean up our air. I want people with health conditions like asthma, and those at risk, to be better protected from harmful air pollution. We’re pleased the new Mayor has made this issue one of his first priorities.

He now wants to hear Londoners’ ideas on how to improve air quality.

We’re particularly keen to explore how certain measures, like expanding the Ultra-Low Emission Zone and making Transport for London’s buses cleaner.

We want to ensure the final proposals have the most impact, so please join in the consultation.

Cleaning up London’s air could make a real impact to improve the lives of people with asthma. It will not only benefit those living in the capital but those people with asthma who travel here We must make sure London is leading the way.

Find out more about Asthma UK

Take the air quality survey

The Mayor wants to hear Londoners’ views about his plans to tackle air pollution. Take part in the air quality survey to have your say.