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Healthy Lungs for Life takes over the European Parliament

Healthy Lungs for Life takes over the European Parliament

The European Lung Foundation (ELF) and European Respiratory Society (ERS) took the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign to the European Parliament earlier this week, with 524 MEPs and members of staff having their lungs tested.

Hosted by Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu MEP, the event included an exhibition on lung health, free lung function testing and a roundtable discussion between MEPs and the ERS and ELF leadership. The aim was to raise awareness of the importance of healthy lungs, particularly after the recent announcement that the Clean Air Package will be changed.

Healthy Lungs for Life is one of the largest ever global lung health campaigns. Launched at the ERS International Congress in Munich last September, activities have been taking place since aimed at raising the awareness of the importance of healthy lungs. The policymakers who decide on the legislation used to protect our health are a key audience of the campaign.

Professor Elisabeth Bel, President of ERS, said: “Air quality affects the lungs of 100% of the population. Prevention is a key part of reducing the burden of lung disease and by sharing the latest research into air quality with our policymakers we have spread the key message that clean air is crucial for our health.”

Dan Smyth, Chair of ELF, said: “The Healthy Lungs for Life campaign brings together all parties in healthcare from patients and the public, to respiratory professionals and policymakers. I felt privileged to be representing the patient voice at this event and to ensure our policymakers understand the effect that pollution can have on any person’s lungs, but in particular, those with lung conditions.”

Speaking as the European Parliament host of the event, Dr Tănăsescu stated: “The total cost of respiratory disease in the EU Member States exceeds €380 billion. Besides the damaging health effects air pollution has in the EU, one should not forget the economic impacts that accounted in 2010 (according to the Commission) for direct economic damage of 15 billion from workdays lost and 4 billion in healthcare costs. This includes lung cancer being the leading cause of respiratory death, but also chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lower respiratory infections and tuberculosis (TB). This is an important issue that needs greater awareness amongst patient and political audiences.”

We'd like to thank all the testers who contributed to the event and CareFusion for providing the equipment.