Hywel Dda University Health Board is encouraging patients using inhalers to switch to more environmentally friendly ones.

This move is part of a broader push to reduce carbon footprint, in line with the NHS Wales Decarbonisation Strategic Delivery Plan for a net zero NHS.

In a significant step towards tackling climate change, the board has urged individuals using inhalers to consider environmentally friendly alternatives.

Traditional inhalers often contain propellants that significantly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and consequently, climate change.

These gases - though safe to use - are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide and are the largest contributors to the NHS's carbon emissions from any medicine.

However, modern alternatives, including dry powder inhalers and soft mist inhalers, are now available.

Clinical studies have found these alternatives, which don't contain greenhouse gases, to be equally effective and cost-effective as conventional inhalers.

Currently, the percentage of dry powder inhalers prescribed across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire is 48.7 per cent, the highest in the UK.

This is the result of a concerted effort by nurses, pharmacists, doctors and patients but the NHS' aim is to increase this percentage to 80 per cent by 2025.

Professor Keir Lewis, chairperson of the Inhaler Working Group and clinical respiratory lead at Hywel Dda UHB, said: "We’re proud to be leading the way in reducing the environmental impact of inhaler prescribing.

"One single metered dose inhaler has the same carbon footprint as driving a family car from Llanelli to London, but the dry powder ones are the same as driving to Neath.

"While swapping to a more environmentally friendly inhaler helps to reduce climate change, for those who can’t use the dry powder inhalers it is still important to make your inhaler work as well as possible and your healthcare professional will support you with this."

Patients seeking advice or more information on these environmentally friendly inhalers are advised to speak with their healthcare professional or consult the Health Hub.

The NHS in Wales spends more than £74 million on inhalers each year and urges patients to only order the inhalers they need.