World Lung Day 2023
-Irish Thoracic Society Sets Out Five Ways to Love Your Lungs –
To mark World Lung Day on Monday September 25, the Irish Thoracic Society is urging members of the public to “Show Your Lungs Some Love” and commit to undertaking five actions to safeguard their lung health.
The actions focus on quitting – or never – smoking, eating a healthy balanced diet, undertaking regular exercise, breathing clean air, and getting vaccinated, and reflect the recommendations set out in the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign being undertaken by the European Lung Foundation and the European Respiratory Society.
The call to act comes as figures show 100 people dying each week as a result of smoking1, and over 1,400 premature deaths in Ireland each year due to air pollution2. Lung disease incorporates a wide range of respiratory illnesses with the most prominent being asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer, but also includes sleep apnoea, cystic fibrosis, lung fibrosis, tuberculosis and Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
Ireland has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world with approximately 450,000 people believed to have doctor-diagnosed asthma of whom more than half are thought to have uncontrolled asthma3. It is estimated that there are 380,000 people in Ireland living with COPD, yet less than a third of these have been formally diagnosed with at least 1,500 people dying each year from the disease3. According to the National Cancer Registry, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both sexes, with an average of 1,916 deaths per year or 19 per cent of cancer deaths in women and 21 per cent of cancer deaths in men between 2016 and 2018 4.
For Dr Marcus Butler, consultant respiratory physician and President, Irish Thoracic Society, one of the key lung health actions is not to smoke or vape, with the growth in the use of vaping by young people of significant concern:
“We know from research undertaken by the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Drugs5 that there has been a more than 50% rise in e-cigarette use among 15-16-year-olds in Ireland, from 23% who had ever vaped in 2015 to 39% in 2019, and from 10% who were current users in 2015 to 18% in 2019. In fact, more than two thirds of users (68%) had never smoked a conventional cigarette before trying e-cigarettes/vapes. Moreover, nicotine, which is highly addictive, is found in most e-cigarettes and often in large doses. It is concerning that for those who have never smoked, such as adolescents, taking up e-cigarettes makes them three to five times more likely to start smoking compared with those who have never had an e-cigarette6, risking the creation of a new generation of smokers.
“We are increasingly seeing the negative effects of vaping – for anyone determined to give up smoking the best outcomes are from evidence-based approaches that have been proven to work. Regrettably, most smokers buying e-cigarettes to quit smoking end up using both e-cigarettes and tobacco, making them even worse off.”
|Five Ways to Love Your Lungs
Issued on behalf of the Irish Thoracic Society by:
Don Delaney, director, d2 communications, tel.: 01 910 8987 / 087 793 3249
1 HSE: Smoking facts and figures. See https://www2.hse.ie/living-well/quit-smoking/reasons-to-quit/facts-and-figures/
2 Government of Ireland: Clean Air Strategy for Ireland. See https://www.gov.ie/pdf/?file=https://assets.gov.ie/255392/efe212df-d9a7-4831-a887-bea2703e2c64.pdf#page=null
3 Department of Health: National Healthcare Quality Reporting System, 2021/2022. See https://www.gov.ie/pdf/?file=https://assets.gov.ie/236763/88ff5f95-b41e-467f-aac9-e6a7a07490fe.pdf#page=null
4 National Cancer Registry Ireland: Cancer in Ireland 1994-2020. See https://www.ncri.ie/sites/ncri/files/pubs/NCRI_AnnualStatisticalReport_2022.pdf
5 TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland: European Schools Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs in Ireland. See www.drugsandalcohol.ie/33347/1/ESPAD%202019%20Ireland.pdf and https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/26116/1/Irish-ESPAD-2015-16.09.16.pdf
6 Health Research Board: New HRB evidence shows e-cigarettes are associated with adolescents starting to smoke tobacco cigarettes. See https://www.hrb.ie/news/press-releases/single-press-release/article/new-health-research-board-evidence-shows-e-cigarettes-are-associated-with-adolescents-starting-to-sm/
7 European Lung Foundation: Your lungs and exercise. See https://europeanlung.org/en/information-hub/factsheets/your-lungs-and-exercise/
8 European Lung Foundation: Healthy lungs for life. See https://europeanlung.org/en/information-hub/keeping-lungs-healthy/indoor-air-pollution/
Photo credit Peter Cade.Stone via Getty Images