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Keeping lungs healthy

Summary

We need to make sure we keep people's lungs healthy.

That means we need to do more to prevent people getting lung disease. We can do that by tackling: smoking, air quality, occupational health and flu vaccination.

Keeping lungs healthy

Smoking

Smoking
6,100,100
adults still smoke
50%
local authorities cut budgets for stop smoking services in 2017
2 in 5
councils do not meet NICE guidelines for supporting smokers

What's the issue?

6.1 million adults still smoke. We need to do more to help people stop smoking. People are up to 4 times more likely to quit if they have support from stop smoking services

How do we solve it?

We can change things. We need to:

  • Make sure stop smoking services are available to everyone who needs support, including in hospitals and in the community.
  • Train all health care professionals to be able to give quick tips – what’s known as very brief advice – on how to stop smoking.

Our vision for the future

We’ll see more smokers setting a date to quit through a stop smoking service. We’ll see more health care professionals trained to give the right advice and more people therefore being encouraged and supported to try to quit smoking. Ultimately we’ll see far fewer people smoking in England.

Our full plans for smoking

If I had known the impact that COPD would have on my life in terms of severely limiting me in the everyday things I want to do, and even those I need to do, I would probably have stopped smoking long before I did.

Jay Dowle, living with COPD

Keeping lungs healthy

Air quality

Air quality
40,000
deaths linked to pollution in England every year
£20 billion
annual cost of harm caused by pollution
30
UK cities and towns ordered to improve air quality

What's the issue?

Everyone should have a right to breathe clean air. Air pollution is bad for healthy lungs, and makes symptoms worse for people living with a lung disease. It’s linked to 40,000 deaths in England every year and costs society more than £20 billion.

How do we solve it?

  • We need more clean air zones in the most polluted towns and cities in England.
  • We need new restrictions on the amount of toxic particulate matter in the air from all sources  
  • The government needs to bring in a national system of air pollution alerts.

Our vision for the future

We’ll see the most polluted cities bring in a charging clean air zone within the next five years. And in the same time span, we’ll also make sure that no one lives in an area with dangerous levels of particulate matter.

Our full air quality plans

Keeping lungs healthy

Occupational lung disease

Occupational lung disease
12,000
deaths each year linked to lung disease caused by work
20,000
new cases of breathing and/or lung problems each year
700,000
working days lost annually because of lung problems caused at work

What's the issue?

An estimated 12,000 deaths each year are linked to lung disease through work. There are 20,000 new cases of self-reported breathing or lung problems caused by work each year. Health care professionals, employers and employees don’t know enough about it and new threats are constantly emerging.

How do we solve it?

  • We need to make sure employers are more aware of regulations around the dangers at work.
  • Health care professionals need to be trained on how to spot occupational lung disease.

Our vision for the future

We want to see fewer and fewer people reporting breathing problems caused by exposure in the workplace. One day, we want all health care professionals to be trained to recognise and better understand lung diseases caused by work.

Our full occupational lung disease plans

“Everyone should go home healthy from work. Employers must understand their responsibilities and put measures in place to prevent or control risks. To do nothing is not an option. We must protect workers health."

Martin Temple, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive

Keeping lungs healthy

Flu vaccination

Flu vaccination
1 in 10
cases of flu caught in hospital that resulted in death
52%
reduction in hospital admissions for people with lung disease linked to flu vaccination
100%
NHS target for take-up of flu jab by staff with direct patient contact

What's the issue?

Flu can be a fatal infection, and it can hit people living with lung disease the hardest. Currently, not everyone who’s most at risk, or the people giving them care, are vaccinated. That means more people suffer serious complications and need treatment in hospital. Some will not recover.

How do we solve it?

  • We need to increase the number of people getting a flu vaccination.
  • We need to target people with chronic breathing conditions and making sure there’s enough funding for front-line NHS and social care staff to be vaccinated too.

Our vision for the future

We want to see at least 75% of front-line staff are vaccinated, and we need a way to reliably measure the uptake. We should see 75% of people with lung conditions be vaccinated too. That way, we help more people avoid flu and its potentially devastating consequences. 

Our full plan for flu vaccination

The flu vaccine gives me the best chance I have of not catching flu"

Felicity Payne, living with COPD