In support of World Lung Cancer Day, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), calls for more awareness and understanding of lung cancer risk factors, as well as the importance of early screening and treatment.

    Lung cancer is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 cancer deaths according to the World Health Organization. While lung cancer and breast cancer are diagnosed at the same rate (11.6 percent), lung cancer kills more people yearly than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Lung cancer mortality is projected to reach 2.45 million by 2030, a 39 percent increase in just over a decade.

    While most understand that smoking is the single greatest risk factor for lung cancer at 80 percent of all cases, other lesser known risk factors include the environment and genetics. Environmental exposure to radon, asbestos, arsenic, beryllium and uranium has been linked to lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer also increases with a history of cancer in another part of the body, age, family history, radiation to the chest area and lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

    Access to screening options and education is vital for early detection and treatment. Low-income countries, where survival rates are significantly below the average, report only a 15 percent availability of treatment through public health systems. More that 90 percent of high-income countries report vital access to care.

    Lung cancer symptoms include change in mucus, chest or back pain, coughing up blood and difficulty swallowing. Tests that may be used to diagnose lung cancer include chest x-rays, CT and PET scans, bronchoscopy and needle biopsies. If you are a current or former smoker and over the age of 55, you may be a candidate for a low-dose CT scan screening that can potentially detect lung cancer in its earliest stages.

    Read the World Lung Cancer Day fact sheet here

     



    COVID-19 cases continue to rise globally. Some countries are still dealing with large epidemics, whilst others are at various stages of reopening society. Many countries are fearful of a second wave of infection, as a consequence of restrictions being eased.

    To control the spread of COVID-19, at this critical time in the pandemic, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) urges people not to get complacent.

    It is vital that we all continue with everyday preventive measures such as wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and washing hands, which can substantially curtail the spread of the virus. Continuing these actions is the number one thing we can all do to reduce our chances of catching and spreading COVID-19.

    “Face masks or coverings should be worn at all times in public. If everybody is wearing them, including infected and asymptomatic people, this will help stop the spread,” said Stephanie Levine, MD, President of FIRS.

    Self-isolation is also an effective way of preventing COVID-19 from spreading. It is very important that anyone who has symptoms of the virus, or might have been exposed to it, self-isolates to reduce potential transmission to others.

    We can all play our part in protecting ourselves and each other from this disease.

    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.

    Translated Statement

    Read the statement in Spanish

     


    On World No Tobacco Day, 31 May, 2020, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), calls on governments and policymakers to implement stronger measures to protect teenagers and adolescents from tobacco industry marketing, in order to safeguard health and to support global public health goals for a tobacco-free generation.

    The call is issued in support of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) overarching World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) 2020 theme, which focuses on exposing the strategies used by the tobacco industry to appeal to young people in its marketing of novel tobacco and nicotine products such as e-cigarettes, heated tobacco and “smokeless” tobacco products.

    In its WNTD 2020 launch statement, the WHO outlines the key strategies used by the tobacco industry to entice young people to use novel tobacco and nicotine products, including through the use of sweet flavourings, false claims about the “safety” of novel tobacco products, in-direct marketing on TV, film and online through social media influencers, and by using “sleek” product designs to hide the fact its products are devices of tobacco and nicotine inhalation.

    Many studies have found that e-cigarette vapour contains toxic and cancer-causing chemicals, and almost all independent research has revealed some negative health effects associated with e-cigarette use. Existing evidence indicates that this damage will have lasting effects and may lead to the development of diseases in later life [1].

    Further, there is currently no evidence to show that heated or “smokeless” tobacco products are less harmful than traditional cigarettes to health. Previous research has shown that more than 20 harmful chemicals were found in heat-not-burn products in higher amounts than in traditional cigarette smoke, and there is some evidence that new chemicals exist in heat-not-burn products that are not present in traditional cigarettes, which could be toxic to the health of young people [1].

    FIRS believe that governments have an important role to play in the implementation of legislation to limit these strategies and strongly supports the WHO’s recommendations on ways to counter the tobacco industry, including by:

    • Supporting the implementation of comprehensive tobacco control policies, such as those outlined in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
    • If not banning, then by applying strict regulations on the sale of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS).
    • Implementing bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of nicotine and tobacco products.
    • Enforcing policies to prevent tobacco industry lobbying and interference in tobacco control policies.
    • Supporting youth groups to advocate, engage and educate young people to help build a movement for a tobacco-free generation.
    • Instructing schools to raise awareness of the dangers of initiating nicotine and tobacco product use and adopt tobacco and e-cigarette free campuses.

    We must stop the tobacco industry targeting a new generation. FIRS encourages the public health community, civil society organisations, governments, the media and the public to support World No Tobacco Day 2020 and to get involved in WHO activities for this important awareness event.

    (ends)

    Notes

    [1] https://breathe.ersjournals.com/content/16/1/161ELF.article-info

     


    World Lung Day (WLD), 25 September, is a day for lung health advocacy and action, an opportunity for us all to unite and promote better lung health globally.

    If you haven't joined yet, sign up as a World Lung Day partner by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., all our partners are included on our partners page

    World Lung Day Toolkit

    The theme for World Lung Day 2020 is respiratory infections. 

    COMING SOON. The toolkit will be released in early September. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive it as soon as it is available. 

    Available now:

    World Lung Day Pledge Campaign

    This year we will be sharing the World Lung Day pledge campaign again. Please download these pledges and share.

    You could also take a photograph of yourself doing something for World Lung Day and share this on social media or create your own pledge using this blank version sized for Facebook/Twitter or Instagram

    Don't forget to include #WorldLungDay in your posts. 

    If you would like a bespoke World Lung Day pledge designing email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    View and download pledge images on Trello or below:

    Sized for Facebook and Twitter

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    World Lung Day Events

    Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, many World Lung Day events will be virtual this year, here are some ideas for virtual events:

    • Virtual press conference
    • Hold a webinar to talk about lung health/respiratory infections
    • Hold a zoom call
    • Run a Facebook live session 

    Grants available for Online World Lung Day Events

    European Respiratory Society (ERS), a FIRS founding partner and the European Lung Foundation (ELF), have grants available to support Healthy Lungs for Life events for World Lung Day.

    Grants are available for online events, which can be held throughout September to link with World Lung Day on 25 September.

    Events could include, fundraising challenges, online information campaigns, online public talks or training events.

    You have until 14 August 2020 to apply for grants of either €500 or €1,000, depending on the type of event you are holding. Find out more about the World Lung Day grants here.

    World Lung Day Partner Plans 

    • The Philippine College of Chest Physicians is commemorating National Lung Month during the whole month August 2020 with the theme “Facing the Challenges of a New Normal”. The advocacy activity will culminate on September 25, 2020 in time for the World Lung Day celebration. They have lots of activities planned, find out more here

    Send your World Lung Day plans in to be included. 

    Other World Lung Day Content


    This year, World No Tobacco Day focuses on protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use.

    For decades, the tobacco industry has deliberately employed strategic, aggressive and well-resourced tactics to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. Internal industry documents reveal in-depth research and calculated approaches designed to attract a new generation of tobacco users, from product design to marketing campaigns aimed at replacing the millions of people who die each year from tobacco-attributable diseases with new consumers – youth. 

    In response to the tobacco and related industries’ systematic, aggressive and sustained tactics to attract a new generation of tobacco users, World No Tobacco Day 2020 will provide a counter-marketing campaign and empower young people to engage in the fight against Big Tobacco.

    Tobacco products kill more than 8 million people every year.

    Tobacco and related industries’ tactics to market to children and adolescents include:

    • Over 15,000 flavours, most of which attract children and adolescents
    • Social media influencers and marketing
    • Sponsored events and parties
    • School scholarships
    • Sleek, sexy designs
    • Product placement in entertainment media
    • Free product samples
    • Single stick cigarettes make addiction more affordable
    • Selling products at eye level for children 
    • Product placement and advertising near schools

    Find out more about World No Tobacco Day 2020 here

    Read the FIRS statement on electronic cigarette use in youths

    Source: World Health Organisation 

     


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