Diwali fire crackers shoot up air pollution by 200% each year; posing the worst threat to the 30 million asthmatics in India

13th November 2012

Cipla launches www.breathefree.com – a new educational website for asthma awareness

On the eve of Diwali, BreatheFree, a public service initiative by Cipla brought together asthmatic kids in the city to appeal to the masses to celebrate Diwali with Diyas instead of burning fire-crackers this year. Emission of toxic dusts and chemical components from the crackers increases air pollution by 200% and aggravates the risk of triggering asthma attacks in 30 million people in India who have asthma. Firework is one of the provoking factors for childhood bronchial asthma, particularly in children between the age group of 6-12 years. Also, it has now been established that 26% of people without any prior history of respiratory ailments, develop symptoms of coughing, wheezing and breathlessness during Diwali each year. 

Firecrackers contain 75% potassium nitrate, 15% carbon and 10% sulphur and when they are burnt, noxious gases like sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, manganese and cadmium are released. This irritates the delicate airways of the lungs and leads to triggering asthma attacks. Addressing the press conference, Doctors said, “Every year on the days of Diwali, there are about 10-15 asthma patients in my clinic who require emergency treatment due to aggravation of their asthma symptoms and in few cases even require hospitalization. Also, beginning Diwali till the end of February, there are about 30-40% more cases of asthma reported in the clinic. It only makes sense for all to restrict if not completely avoid firecrackers and show concern for others.”

Doctors said, “Though it is difficult to completely avoid the smoke emitted from the crackers during Diwali, asthmatics should stay away from crackers completely. It is also pertinent that asthmatics be well prepared with inhalers and adheres to their prescribed medicine strictly. As the air pollution also leads to the development of symptoms such as coughing wheezing and breathless even in healthy people, such as awareness drive as taken by Breathefree should help people to understand the implications of burning crackers.”

It has now been established that fire-crackers cause severe health hazards in even healthy people without any history of respiratory ailments. Coughing, wheezing and breathlessness are reported to develop in 30% people and there are about 20% people who complain of irritation of eyes, runny nose, allergy symptoms and itchy skin and these are all linked to the increase in air pollution caused by the fire-crackers.

Dos & Don’ts

To support asthma patients and their families in understanding asthma, its symptoms, and the triggers and to remove the myths associated with the condition and its therapy, an extremely informative website – www.breathefree.com from Cipla was also launched. The website is a step towards helping asthma patients in leading fulfilling lives as it gives them the knowledge and the confidence required to manage a chronic condition like asthma.

About Cipla:
Cipla laid foundations for the Indian pharmaceutical industry back in 1935 with the vision to make India self-reliant in healthcare. Over the years Cipla has emerged as one of the most respected names not just in India but worldwide. Its state of the art R&D centre has given the country and the world many firsts. This includes the revolutionary AIDS cocktail for less than a dollar a day. With over 40 manufacturing units across the country, Cipla manufactures over 1200 products in 80 therapies.

With a turnover of over US $ 1 billion, Cipla serves doctors and patients in over 180 countries. It has earned a name for maintaining one global standard across all its products and services. Cipla continues to support, improve and save millions of lives with its high-quality drugs and innovative devices. (www.cipla.com)