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Why it’s time for parliament to prioritise lung health

Penny talks about the importance of speaking out for better lung health in the UK.

Penny Woods, BLF chief executiveOver recent years, we have seen great improvements in public health. The introduction of a ban on smoking in public places will long be remembered as a pivotal moment in our nation’s health.

In the last parliament, I was proud of the British Lung Foundation for leading the successful ban on smoking in cars carrying children across England and Wales, and strongly supporting the introduction of standardised packaging of tobacco.

These measures will protect generations of young people from the dangers of big tobacco companies.

While we celebrate these achievements and their impact, we must not be complacent. There's still more work to be done to protect and improve the nation’s lungs.

We've come far, but not far enough

In the UK, 1 out of 5 people is affected by lung disease. Someone dies from a lung condition every 5 minutes. Every year, nearly 550,000 people find out they have lung disease.

Alongside cancer and cardiovascular disease, lung disease is one of the UK’s three big causes of death, yet over the years it has received a fraction of the others' funding and attention.

Support and services for many lung conditions fall short and many patients feel lost in the system. This is simply not acceptable. It's time to tackle lung disease with the same aggression that it shows to those it affects.

Time to act

I will continue, as I always have, to speak out against health inequalities and ensure all those who are living with a long-term condition receive the care and support they deserve.

That's why the British Lung Foundation is hosting a parliamentary reception to inform MPs about the extent of lung disease in the UK.

We will be giving data to MPs to show them how their regions are affected by lung conditions and to tell them what they as politicians can do to help the people they represent.

The more politicians know about the scale and impact of lung disease, the harder it will be to ignore. By working together, we will improve diagnosis and treatments, and find cures for lung disease.

Our Respiratory Health of the Nation project gives an overview of lung disease and its impact across the UK for the first time in nearly a decade. You can view the report online.

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14 July 2015