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Smog Alerts and Lung Health

During the warmer months, various parts of Ontario come under smog alerts. Smog is a mixture of pollutants such as ground level ozone and particulate matter. It can affect both urban and rural areas and is one of the principal risk factors for people living with lung disease.

To find out if there’s a smog alert in your area, visit the Ministry of Environment alerts web page at You can also sign up to receive an e-mail when a smog alert occurs in your area. To check air quality readings, visit or

For people with lung disease, air pollution can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. Keep reading for some tips that can help.

If you have a lung condition, keep it under good control:

  • Make sure you take any prescribed daily medications as directed.
  • Always keep your rescue/emergency medication with you.
  • Stay indoors in a cool, clean environment and keep windows and doors closed.
  • Plan outdoor activities for another day if possible.
  • Keep home and car windows closed to reduce the pollution coming inside. An air conditioner may be needed when it’s hot outside.

Everyone can play a role in keeping our air clean. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Carpool or take public transportation on days with poor air quality. With the warmer weather, consider biking or walking as alternate ways to get around (unless you are affected by the air pollution).
  • Do not use gas or diesel-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers or gardening equipment. These devices emit high levels of air pollution.
  • If using a fire pit or campfire, do not burn waste. Only burn clean, dry wood. Try not to burn on a smog or poor air quality day.
  • Avoid idling your vehicle when waiting.


For more information about smog and lung health, call The Ontario Lung Association Lung Health Information Line

at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864), or email us at