For more than 100 years, the American Lung Association has worked to save lives by preventing lung disease and promoting lung health, including fighting illness and death caused by tobacco use. Unfortunately, lung disease death rates are not decreasing as quickly as the rates of other leading causes of death, and CDC announced in December 2010 that chronic lower respiratory disease, which includes COPD, is now the third leading cause of death.1
The American Lung Association was founded in 1904 to combat tuberculosis, decades before antibiotics made it a curable disease. In fighting tuberculosis, we learned that by harnessing political will and using the right advocacy tools, a public health scourge could be tamed. With the same intent, the American Lung Association targeted tobacco use. The Lung Association was one of the first organizations to tell people about the dangers of smoking, even before the landmark Surgeon General’s Report on smoking was issued in 1964. The American Lung Association’s smoking cessation program for adults, Freedom From Smoking®, is widely recognized as the gold standard of such programs and is available in a group clinic format, as a self-help manual and online at www.ffsonline.org. The American Lung Association also provides free telephone counseling to help smokers quit at 1 800 LUNGUSA.
From successfully advocating for smokefree air laws to holding the tobacco industry accountable for its wrongdoing, the American Lung Association is a leader in tobacco control advocacy on the national, state and local levels. In addition, the American Lung Association was among the first to offer a proven effective teen smoking-cessation program, Not-On-Tobacco, America’s most widely-used teen smoking cessation program that has helped tens of thousands of teen smokers end their addiction to nicotine.
The American Lung Association is also a leader in the battle against air pollution and its devastating impact on public health. More recently, the American Lung Association has taken the lead in responding to the immense burden caused by asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking causes 80 to 90 percent of COPD deaths2 and both asthma and COPD can be exacerbated by exposure to secondhand smoke. Ninety percent of lung cancer deaths are also caused by smoking3 and secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer.4 The American Lung Association gives support to people with lung cancer, and ultimately through stronger tobacco control policies seeks to reduce the more than 157,000 deaths caused by lung cancer each year.5
The American Lung Association’s commitment to tobacco control is stronger than ever. But there is a crucial difference in this fight: Tobacco, unlike tuberculosis, has a strong lobby supporting it. The American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control is a call to action for national and state elected officials: Enact strong tobacco control laws so lives can be saved by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.
To find out more about the American Lung Association, get help quitting smoking or learn more about lung health issues, call 1 800 LUNG USA (1 800 586 4872) or log onto www.lung.org.
- Miniño AM, Xu JQ, Kochanek KD. Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2008. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 59 no 2. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr59/nvsr59_02.pdf.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Tobacco Information and Prevention Source (TIPS). Tobacco Use in the United States. January 27, 2004.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006.
- Average deaths from lung cancer are based on data from: U.S. Mortality Data, 1999 to 2009, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.