Draw attention to the importance of prevention of  lung diseases  through education, environmental protection, behaviourial changes and improved air quality. We support Europe in formulating ambitious goals around prevention and will help to meet those.

Only 3% of the health budget in Europe is spent on prevention . This clearly limited expenditure seems to ignore the very large cost-benefit ratio that prevention measures and harm reduction can have on the burden or cost of respiratory disease. This percentage only includes direct investment, such as vaccination, but respiratory prevention needs to be embedded in all policies impacting health. Improving lung health literacy across all age groups is essential. This includes understanding how important lung health is for children and allowing and empowering people to better manage exposure to dirty air, tobacco and to make informed lifestyle choices.

Normalised prevention approaches

An EU Air quality framework is adopted: By 2030 everyone in Europe should be able to enjoy clean air. A framework to address the issues of indoor and outdoor pollution and pollen should be implemented, filtering through to national policy. This would follow adoption of the WHO air quality guidelines, committed to by over 50 patient and professional organisations. Air pollution costs over €1,000 per person per year . Air standards would be no longer fragmented and neglected at the national level. They should be coherently addressed in one holistic framework which clearly lays out expectations, accountability and empowers lung patients and professionals for action through information. Air quality enforcement should be effective, including tackling individual choices such as wood burning. A tangible reduction in exposure to respiratory environmental risks must be seen.

8.6 months is the average loss of life expectancy in Europe due to poor air quality.

Tobacco regulation becomes more stringent: A further reduction in tobacco usage should lead to an overall health improvement for all respiratory diseases and help reduce lung cancer and COPD incidence. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control should be implemented in all EU Member States, including better regulation to protect against second-hand smoke exposure. Other smoking products should be reviewed for regulation, with the EU setting aligned policies on the commercialisation, taxation and norms regulating tobacco and newer smoking products. Ultimately the sale of tobacco and its use should be banned in Europe.

In Europe, tobacco consumption is the most prevalent cause of death, responsible for around 16 % of all deaths in adults over 30 years old.

Risk factors are mitigated with sound policy making: Our approach to healthcare should pivot towards preventing disease. Increased screening, particularly for rare respiratory diseases and lung cancer, and educating people on how to live with and manage their disease should become a normal part of the healthcare cycle. Exposure to environmental pollution should be front of mind, influencing consumer, work, and policy decisions. Policy revisions should consider prevention measures in all specific disease scenarios to deliver best responses. In addition, Eurobarometer data should be used to inform prevention approaches.

Abnormal lung growth is associated with 15-20% of deaths of newborn babies.

Secondary prevention measures become routine: Measures such as screening, lung health checks, self-management, and pulmonary rehabilitation, which will be key for COVID-19 survivors with longer term lung damage, should be available to all to reduce and prevent deterioration, exacerbations or further illness for people living with respiratory disease. This will enhance quality of life and lead to longer lives. A programme of early screening should be established across Europe, recognising that respiratory diseases also lead to other chronic diseases.

Lung cancer becomes a less deadly chronic disease: Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in Europe, with over 20% of cancer deaths. A very large benefit can be gained from better treatment and early interventions, such as screening rolled out across Europe. With more effective treatment and smoking cessation, lung cancer would become a chronic disease.

The COPD curve is flattened: With greater awareness and earlier diagnosis the deterioration typically seen in COPD can be reduced before rapid deterioration begins, dramatically improving the lives of patients living with COPD.

Vaccines to address infectious lung diseases are improved and championed: Significant improvements in vaccines and their availability will tackle the situation we have today with 1 million people being hospitalised with pneumonia per year , while new vaccines are developed which address existing risk factors in tuberculosis. Vaccine hesitancy should also be reduced by championing vaccination to protect vulnerable people, building on the public attention received during the COVID-19 pandemic. Respiratory patients need to have the information on vaccinations to be able to to adhere to vaccination plans. The WHO European Immunisation Agenda 2030 aims to leave no-one behind and should be fully supported by all health agencies in Europe.

Each year, more 40,000 people die of tuberculosis in Europe.