I have asthma. I was originally diagnosed when I was 8, and have had the diagnosis reaffirmed in adulthood by spirometry testing by a specialist.
I was instructed by several different doctors (GP/family, specialist, sports med) to take my short-acting/emergency puffer (salbutamol) prior to races and hard workouts. I take a corticosteroid based puffer on a daily basis to control symptoms. This is a common practice with other people I know who have asthma and compete in sports.
While I think Rupp is a scumbag and is probably guilty of shady affairs, this isn't it. Taking a puffer before any/all races is fine and medically advisable. If you had "true" asthma you would know this. Allergic asthma is a related disorder, but symptoms only exist in the presence of allergens. Someone with full-blown asthma always has symptoms, but these can be worsened by certain triggers (allergens, emotional stress, exercise, air temperature/humidity).
As for indoors, I actually find this to be the worst environment for my asthma. Indoor tracks are dry, which irritates the nasal and breathing passages, triggering an asthmatic response. Many indoor tracks are also poorly ventilated, which means that fine particulate matter (sand, dust) and irritating aromatic compounds from the rubber hangs in the air. Breathing these in at a large volume/rate as in a race can certainly cause problems in those with asthma outside of the allergic asthma category.