World COPD Day – Your Lungs for Life: The Forum of International Respiratory Societies

For Immediate Release

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a preventable and treatable disease that causes breathlessness, chronic sputum production and cough.  COPD is currently one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is highly prevalent in low resource countries. It is estimated that three million people globally die each year due to COPD. This number is only expected to increase due to the aging world population and continued exposure to risk factors, like tobacco smoke.  Exposure to tobacco smoke and other inhaled toxic particles and gases are the main risk factors for COPD, although recent research indicates that COPD results from a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors that occur over a lifetime.  This significant development in COPD shows the importance of considering lung health from development all the way into adulthood.

World COPD Day is an annual global initiative run by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), who is a member of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS). The goal of World COPD Day is to raise awareness and present new knowledge and novel therapeutic strategies for COPD worldwide.  The 21st annual World COPD Day will take place on November 16, 2022.  This year’s theme, “Your Lungs for Life” emphasizes that from development through adulthood, keeping lungs healthy is an integral part of future health and well-being.  This campaign looks to raise awareness for contributing factors to COPD during all stages of life and what we can do to promote lifelong lung health as well as protect vulnerable populations. From proper pre-natal care, staying active, reducing toxic exposures, maintaining good nutrition, and getting vaccinated, people can give their lungs the best chance of staying healthy for life!

Initiatives to reduce the burden of COPD are taking place worldwide, including smoking-cessation programs, fighting against both indoor and outdoor air pollution, as well as examining childhood disadvantage factors. Although there is no current cure for COPD, actions to prevent it and improve quality of life can take place anywhere by a variety of individuals in many types of settings. Employers can strive for safe breathing environments, citizens can be good stewards of air cleanliness, and both patients and families can help advocate for more research and better access to care, including pulmonary rehabilitation and mental health services.  In addition, providers and policy makers can work together to improve access to spirometry, importantly not only for the diagnosis of respiratory diseases but also as a global health marker, essential medications, and other treatments, including telehealth and other types of access for patients in remote settings.

GOLD and FIRS invites everyone to participate in World COPD Day events on the 16th of November, 2022. Further information about GOLD and World COPD Day can be found here.

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 Fiona Salter