World Lung Day 2019: Healthy Lungs for All

World Lung Day (WLD), 25 September, is a day for lung health advocacy and action, an opportunity for us all to unite and promote better lung health globally.

If you haven’t joined yet, sign up as a WLD partner by emailing, all our WLD partners are included on our partners page.

Respiratory diseases impose an immense worldwide health burden. The facts are shocking:

  • 65 million people suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 3 million die from it each year, making it the third leading cause of death worldwide.
  • 10 million people develop tuberculosis and 1.6 million die from it each year, making it the most common lethal infectious disease.
  • 1.76 million people die from lung cancer each year, making it the most deadly cancer.
  • 334 million people suffer from asthma, making it the most common chronic disease of childhood. It affects 14 percent of children globally − and rising.
  • Pneumonia kills millions of people each year making it a leading cause of death in the very young and very old.
  • 91 percent of the world’s population live in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits.
2019 World Lung Day Theme

This year’s WLD theme is ‘healthy lungs for all’, calling for Universal Health Coverage (UHC), where all people receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.

Universal coverage is particularly important to persons with respiratory disease. For example, a break in the supply of medicine for patient with tuberculosis could cause the development of drug resistance, which carries serious consequences. The abrupt unavailability of asthma medicine could cause severe suffering and even death. Lack of health care provider availability usually means delay in diagnosis, which could be fatal for lung cancer patients.

The global spotlight on UHC represents an opportunity for substantial progress in the fight against lung disease around the world.

On WLD we are asking the lung health community to raise awareness of the burden of respiratory disease, whilst advocating for UHC.

WLD messaging includes ‘Leave no one behind. On #WorldLungDay call for HEALTHY LUNGS FOR ALL.’

World Lung Day Toolkit

The lung is not the only organ affected by air pollution, warns international respiratory group

The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) warns that air pollution exposure affects many organs beyond the lungs, posing a great risk to health. Outdoor fine particulate matter exposure is the fifth leading risk factor for death in the world, accounting for 4.2 million deaths and 103 million disability-adjusted life years lost according to the Global Burden of Disease Report.

FIRS’ Environmental Committee published two articles in the journal CHEST on the effects of air pollution on health and evidence for its association with many diseases.

“It is well-known that air pollution is a major contributor to lung disease, but this review also shows how it can damage most other organ systems of the body. The hope is that people and organisations outside the respiratory realm will see just how air pollution affects other organs and join in the fight for clean air.” Dean Schraufnagel, MD, review author and Executive Director of FIRS.

The FIRS’ two-part review highlights the number and extent of diseases caused or made worse by air pollution. Stroke, dementia, many cancers, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, allergies, and osteoporosis are all associated with air pollution. Air pollution is controllable and, therefore, many of these adverse health effects can be prevented.

Dean Schraufnagel concludes: “The best way to reduce exposure to air pollution is to control it at its source, which is done by setting standards and regulatory processes. Individuals can reduce exposure by avoiding polluted areas, staying indoors in times of high outdoor pollution, and filtering air by wearing a personal respirator (face mask).”

The two-part articles, The Damaging Effects of Air Pollution and Air Pollution and Organ Systems, can be found on the journal CHEST website.

About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS)

The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organisation comprised of the world’s leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally: American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), Asociación Latino Americana De Tórax (ALAT), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).

The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally.

For more information about FIRS please contact Lisa Roscoe

Pakistani doctors stand tall in their fight against smoking this World No Tobacco Day

Pakistani doctors stand tall in their fight against smoking this World No Tobacco Day

Renowned physicians from the country have joined hands in their fight against the growing tobacco epidemic.

The physicians have expressed their concern regarding the issue that continues to plague the country in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister. They are of the opinion that if not controlled, the growing use of tobacco might result in a serious health and economic disaster.

Over a 100,000 people die every year as a result of cigarette smoking. This number is much greater than the deaths caused by suicide bombings, traffic accidents and crime related killings, the letter states.

Tobacco use increases the risk of heart attacks, hypertension, stroke and a multitude of lung diseases. However, health is not the only concern. Increased tobacco use causes a threat to the economy.

According to Professor Javaid Khan, Chair of the National Alliance for Tobacco Control, Pakistan had spend over 260 billion rupees on 64 billion cigarettes in the year 2015 alone and an equal amount of money is spent on smokeless tobacco which includes paan, naswar and gutka.

A large sum of the country’s foreign exchange is then spent on medicines required to treat diseases caused by tobacco, and it is an on going cycle which is why tobacco control would also help the economy, he said.

The letter has been signed by physicians from renowned hospitals such as the Agha Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Liaquat National Hospital, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, Sheikh Zayed Hospital Lahore and Rahim Yar Khan, Gulab Devi Chest Hospital Lahore, King Edward Medical College, Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar and Fauji Foundation Hospital Rawalpindi.

They have demanded for the enforcement of the “Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of non-smoker’s Health Ordinance of 2002” which would help control the growing use of tobacco in the country.

The letter demands that all public places and vehicles be made smoke free, that there should be increased taxation on cigarettes, that no vendors should be allowed to sell in the vicinity of schools and colleges and that sale of tobacco products to minors should be strictly prohibited.

They also expressed their concerns over the portrayal of smoking on TV which represents it as a cool and hip thing to do which in turn encourages the youth to take up on the habit.

Pakistani doctors stand tall in their fight against smoking this World No Tobacco Day, Tuesday, May 31, 2016