The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) marked World Lung Day (Sept 25) this year by calling for public awareness of lung disease, tobacco/smoking reductions, better access to healthcare, and more.

Marked annually in September, World Lung Day serves as an opportunity for patients and healthcare workers to unite and advocate for better lung health globally, FIRS said.

FIRS call for the following essential actions to reduce the burden of respiratory disease and improve global health:

  • Increase awareness among the public and policy makers that respiratory health is a major component of global health;
  • Reduce the use of all tobacco products through universal adoption of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control;
  • Adopt World Health Organization air quality standards to reduce ambient, indoor, and occupational air pollution for all countries;
  • Promote universal access to quality healthcare, essential medicines, and immunizations;
  • Improve early diagnosis of respiratory diseases through increasing public awareness of lung health and disease;
  • Increase training of health professionals worldwide in respiratory disease;
  • Standardize the monitoring and management of respiratory diseases with evidence-based national and international strategies; and
  • Increase research to prevent and treat respiratory diseases.

“We hope World Lung Day will provide an opportunity for action, conversation, and awareness. A unified voice of all dedicated to respiratory health will be a powerful force,” said Dean Schraufnagel, MD, executive director of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies.

As part of the awareness campaign, the organization noted some of these alarming facts about lung health:


  • 65 million people suffer from COPD and 3 million die from it each year, making it the third leading cause of death worldwide;
  • 10 million people develop tuberculosis and 1.8 million die from it each year, making it the most common lethal infectious disease;
  • 6 million people die from lung cancer each year, making it the deadliest cancer;
  • 334 million people suffer from asthma, making it the most common chronic disease of childhood. It affects 14% 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.

“While respiratory disease has a tremendous impact on the world’s population, it is also largely preventable. Investing the resources necessary to prevent and cure these diseases is a cost-effective investment that benefits the entire world. Public policy makers in the healthcare sector need to recognize the size of the problem and take concrete steps now to improve global lung health.” said Schraufnagel.