Inhaler industry + tobacco industry= ……

not a good combination.

A few weeks ago in the press there was a lot of interest in the story surrounding the UK inhaler group Vectura and Philip Morris International.

Philip Morris International is one of the largest if not the largest tobacco company in the world. Vectura is a pharmaceutical company in the UK who mainly manufacture inhaler devices. Philip Morris has bought a large portion of the shares in Vectura and the company has back the offer by Philip Morris to take over the company.

Inhaler devices produced by Vectura

As you could imagine this has caused outrage throughout many different aspects of society. The idea that a company that dedicates its entire being to help people with lung disease is comfortable with selling itself to a company that makes a product the ultimately causes lung disease is unthinkable.

It has been very comforting to see so many stand up and be vocal. Charities have made statements and comments stating that this take over in unthinkable and unacceptable in every possible way.

As a patient I am very concerned about this takeover. I use a device that is manufactured by Vectura and at my next clinic appointment I will be asking my consultant to change my inhaler to a different device. I refuse to have any part of my treatment be associated so explicitly with a tobacco company.

Hate is a strong word to use but I HATE tobacco, cigarettes, cigars all things associated with smoking and the tobacco industry.

When you fight every day to breathe and rely on medications just to achieve that you don’t take breathing for granted. I spend my day evaluating everything. I am on the look out for potential triggers, anything that might cause my breathing to become compromised all the time. The one thing that I find hardest to deal with when living with a lung condition more than anything else is when I am subjected to people who have smoked. This might be quite blunt but I find smokers to be one of the most selfish people in the population. Their habit not only affects them but it also affects so many others around them. I cannot count the number of admissions to hospital and critical care that have been as a result of someone smoking (normally somewhere that is a no smoking zone and therefore they should not be there). I do all I can to keep myself as well as possible only to have some selfish people ruin it all with their disgusting habit.

I cannot tell you how demoralising it is to have potentially months of slow progress at getting your breathing back to a reasonable standard for it to all be set back again because of something you didnt do. In my early adult years there were times when I may have been reckless with my asthma and as a result I have ended up in hospital- this I can deal with as it was my fault if I had an asthma attack but when it is not my fault and then in the place where I am being treated I am in a ward and often room with people who still smoke then complain they cant breathe. This I find I cannot tolerate no matter how hard I try. When you have been on the edge of death as a result of someone else’s smoking you will understand how tricky this is. The only thing that is possibly worse is when you are in hospital and as a result of other patients smoking beneath your window (again in the no smoking zone) you end up having a severe asthma attack and have to get taken from what should be a place of relative safety to the critical care unit for more intensive treatment. This leaves you feeling very scared and very vulnerable. Your place of safety turns out to be just as dangerous as everywhere else (because the NHS board refuses to enforce the government regulations of no smoking on NHS sites).

You can see why from the above experiences I am disgusted at the idea of a tobacco industry buying out and taking over an inhaler company and why I will refuse to use a device that is associated with tobacco.

I know that those with the powers in these companies are not concerned with what their product does or does not do. They are just concerned with how much money they can make. It is all a commodity no matter the harm or good that it does. The tobacco sells and the more they sell in my eyes the more lung disease they create and then the more inhaler devices are need and then they make more as well. This is a very broad brush look at it but I imagine this is the crux of it. If I was in business I might think this was a good proposition but for the issue that peoples lives are at risk.

I would urge anyone reading this to use their channels to highlight how wrong the take over is. Never in a month of sundays should a tobacco company take over and inhaler group. It is just ridiculous.

If you want to understand a bit more there has been an article written by 2 people who work in healthcare- one a Dr and one a pharmacist. The article highlights the issues and also the options you have when it comes to your inhaler if like me you feel as strongly as I do about using a device associated with tobacco. The article is titled: Adapting inhaled medication practice in COPD and asthma to avoid funding the tobacco industry.

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