World Lung Day 2021: Care for Your Lungs

    World Lung Day 2021: Care for Your Lungs

    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 WLD 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

    Taking care of our lungs is now more important than ever. So, this year on 25 September, we will be asking the world to ‘care for your lungs’ and keep them healthy.

    The 2021 WLD theme will focus on:

    Care for Your Lungs:

    • Say no to tobacco
    • Protect them through vaccination
    • Breathe clean air
    • Take regular physical exercise

    Say no to tobacco

    Tobacco causes 8 million deaths every year and is the main cause of many lung diseases. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic and can cause cancer.

    Stopping smoking is the best way to improve your lung health and overall health.

    Quitting tobacco has the potential to reverse some of the damage done by tobacco smoke to the lungs, but not all. Early cessation is therefore essential to preventing the onset of chronic lung disease, which is irreversible once developed. The benefits of quitting tobacco are almost immediate.

    • After just 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate drops.
    • Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
    • Within 2–12 weeks, your circulation improves and lung function increases.
    • Within 1–9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
    • Within 5–15 years, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker.
    • Within 10 years, your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker.
    • Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is that of a non-smoker.

    Care for your lungs, say no to tobacco. Here are some resources to help you:


    Say no to vaping

    Vaping is the use of an electronic system to deliver inhaled drugs, most commonly nicotine and cannabinoids (natural or synthetic forms of marijuana).

    There is increasing evidence that inhaled nicotine from e-cigarettes damages lung tissue and lowers the body’s natural resistance to infections and to cancers and emissions from these devices are hazardous to lungs.

    Care for your lungs, say no to vaping. Here are some resources to help you:

    Protect your lungs through vaccination

    Vaccines save millions of lives each year. Vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defences, the immune system, to recognise and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target. If the body is exposed to those germs later, the body is immediately ready to destroy them thereby preventing illness.

    Getting vaccinated can protect you from lots of different infectious diseases and help you keep your lungs healthy. Pneumococcal pneumonia, COVID-19, influenza and whooping cough are examples of respiratory infections that can be prevented by vaccination.

    Vaccination can also help to protect other people. People can be protected if those close to them (like friends and family members) and enough people in their communities (including healthcare professionals) are vaccinated, because it stops infections from spreading.

    People with a lung condition or other health conditions can be at a higher risk from lung infections. You can prevent some of these infections by getting vaccinated.

    Care for your lungs, protect them through vaccination. Here are some resources to help you:

    Breathe clean air

    Air pollution kills an estimated 7 million people worldwide every year. WHO data shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.

    Air pollution has a negative impact on human health and exposure to it can affect 100% of the population, from unborn babies to the very elderly. The lungs are the first point of entry for air pollution into the body and are therefore the first affected organ. Air pollution affects everyone−rich and poor, developed and developing countries, but it hits the hardest where the exposure is greatest, low and middle-income countries.

    Care for your lungs, breathe clean air. Here are some resources to help you:

    Take regular physical activity

    Regular physical activity and exercise improves quality of life, whether you are healthy or you have a lung condition. Many people associate keeping fit with maintaining a healthy heart, losing weight and reducing the risk of illnesses such as diabetes, but exercise also helps keep lungs healthy.

    When you exercise, your heart beats faster and your lungs work harder. Your body needs more oxygen to fuel your muscles. Your lungs step up their activity to deliver that oxygen while expelling additional carbon dioxide. In addition, your lungs expand during exercise compared to when not exercising, preventing compression of lower lung areas.

    It is best to ask the guidance of a doctor or physiotherapist before you begin changing your activity levels, to ensure that your plans are in line with your capacity and are safe. All exercise and physical activity programmes must be built up over time to allow the body to adapt.

    Care for your lungs, take regular physical activity. Here are some resources to help you:


    Partner Graphics

    Please help us raise the profile of World Lung Day by sharing the save the date graphics via your own communication channels. We also have a 'Proud to be a World Lung Day Partner' graphic, add your own logo to the blank white circle and share on social media. 

    Please use #WorldLungDay on social media.

    We have also created graphics to use on World Lung Day and in the build up to the day. These are below.

    There are also blank versions of each, which you can use to add your own language to the graphic. 

    Download image template (no text) Download image template (no text)
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    World Lung Day Events

    Will you be holding a WLD event this year?

    We encourage you to arrange your own local, regional or national public education activities, where possible, to help spread the important messages of the campaign across the globe this WLD.

    To support you with your activities, you can apply for a Healthy Lungs for Life grant of up to €1,000. Healthy Lungs for Life is a global awareness campaign run by the European Lung Foundation (ELF) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS), a FIRS founding member.

    Apply before Saturday 31 July for a chance to receive a grant for your WLD activities.

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