Media Releases

Ninety per cent of Australians with asthma use their inhalers incorrectly

18 Jul 2016

Up to 90 per cent of Australians use their life-saving inhalers incorrectly, increasing their risk of hospitalisation by 50 per cent for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).[i]

Even people who have been using their inhalers for years are likely to need help with inhaling properly, with an Australian study finding that 6 out of 7 confident inhaler users were mistaken in thinking they had the correct technique. [ii] [iii]

To combat this problem, National Asthma Council Australia has launched an education campaign including an expanded series of how-to videos for using inhalers correctly to coincide with the increased number of asthma-related doctor visits and hospital admissions during the colder months.

National Asthma Council Australia’s Asthma and Respiratory Educator, Judi Wicking, said that most patients with asthma or COPD have not had their technique checked nor corrected by a health professional.

“Improving inhaler technique will improve a person with asthma’s quality of life, lung function and asthma control. It will also decrease the risk of side effects like hoarseness and mouth infections (oral thrush).

“There are a large variety of inhalers and brands available on the market, and each one has to be used in a particular way. The series of demonstration videos show how to properly use each type.

“Part of the confusion is that steps are different for different types or brands of inhaler. It only takes two minutes to increase the quality of your life by viewing the video,” said Ms. Wicking.

High rates of incorrect inhaler use have been reported among children and adults including experienced inhaler uses. Groups most likely to use inhalers incorrectly include young children, older adults, people with severe airflow limitation, and people using more than one type of inhaler device. [iv]

The how-to library also includes demonstration videos for the latest nasal allergy sprays, which need to be used in the right way to avoid side-effects like blood noses. The National Asthma Council Australia recommends that people with asthma watch the demonstrations online in the Council’s how-to video library or ask their practice nurse or pharmacist to check their technique.

Around 2.5 million Australians have asthma. In total, 419 asthma-related deaths were recorded in Australia in 2014, comprising 277 females and 142 males. 

For more information on correct inhaler techniques and asthma visit our How-to video library.

Inhaler Use Infographic Final

Media enquiries

For further information, or to arrange an interview with a National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, please contact:

Lelde McCoy The Reputation Group Tel: 03 92341205 Mob: 0417362768 [email protected]


[i] Basheti IA, Armour CL, Bosnic-Anticevich SZ, Reddel HK. Evaluation of a novel educational strategy, including inhaler-based reminder labels, to improve asthma inhaler technique. Patient Educ Couns 2008; 72: 26-33.

[ii] Bosnic-Anticevich SZ, Sinha H, So S, Reddel HK. Metered dose inhaler technique: the effect of two educational interventions delivered in community pharmacy over time. J Asthma 2010; 47: 251-6.

[iii] Capanoglu M, Dibek Misirlioglu E, Toyran M et al. Evaluation of inhaler technique, adherence to therapy and their effect on disease control among children with asthma using metered dose or dry powder inhalers. J Asthma 2015; 52: 838-45.

[iv] Lavorini F, Magnan A, Dubus JC et al. Effect of incorrect use of dry powder inhalers on management of patients with asthma and COPD. Respir Med 2008; 102: 593-604.