By: Emily Mabe

What is smog?

Smog is a form of air pollution produced when sunlight causes hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides from automotive emissions to combine in a photochemical reaction. In simpler terms, smog is fog that has become mixed and polluted with smoke.

How are we affected by smog?

So far, scientists have found that smog can cause several types of short-term health effects in the lungs. Smog can irritate the respiratory system. When this happens, you might start coughing, feel an irritation in your throat, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in your chest. Smog can reduce lung function. “lung function,” is the volume of air that you draw in when you take a full breath and the speed at which you are able to blow it out. Smog can make it more difficult for you to breathe as you normally would. Smog can aggravate asthma. When smog levels are high, more asthma patients have asthma attacks that require doctor’s attention or the use of additional medication.

How can we prevent smog?

A few ways that we can prevent smog is to...

  • Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked or waiting in line.

  • Refuel your vehicle during cooler evening hours.

  • Wait until the heat wave breaks to use gas-powered lawn mowers and yard equipment.

  • Avoid painting and using aerosol sprays until it cools off.

  • To the extent possible limit driving or use public transportation.