LOS ANGELES (CBS) — It could get much more difficult to breathe in 2012 for millions in the Southland who suffer from asthma.

Federal regulators will begin phasing out Primatene Mist in the new year after the over-the-counter inhalers were found to disperse a chemical that could affect the ozone layer.

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An estimated 1.25 million children and adults in Los Angeles County suffer from asthma or asthma-related symptoms.

One Food and Drug Administration official said people who use the inhaler should consult their physician for alternative treatments.

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“Certainly if patients haven’t seen a health care provider, they should go as soon as they can,” said Dr. Sally Seymour of the FDA.

The product already comes with a warning of its unavailability after December 31 for “some time now”, added Seymour.

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Many doctors, however, have expressed little concern with the changes, as they believe Primatene Mist inhalers may not be the best way to treat the condition.