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ERS/ELF – Healthy Lungs for Life takes over the European Parliament

The European Parliament hosted the latest Healthy Lungs for Life event in January with over 40 MEPs and over 480 members of staff having their lungs tested.

Hosted by MEP Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu, the event included an exhibition on lung health, free spirometry testing (shown below) and a roundtable discussion between MEPs and European Respiratory Society (ERS) and the European Lung Foundation (ELF).

The aim of the event was to raise awareness of the importance of healthy lungs, particularly after the recent announcement that the EU Clean Air Package is due to be modified in the coming years. HEAL and its members European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Associations (EFA) supported the activities in the Parliament.

Healthy Lungs for Life is one of the largest ever lung health campaigns. Launched at the ERS International Congress in Munich in September 2014, activities will take place throughout the year raising the awareness of the importance of healthy lungs to different audiences, including policymakers.

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 speaking as a patient 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.”

ERS and ELF would like to thank all supporters in addition to the testers who contributed to the event and CareFusion for providing all the equipment.

Find out more about the campaign here

Photo credits: European Respiratory Society

Originally posted on 12 February 2015

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


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