2016 – The Year in Lung Health
Your lungs may not know it, but they just had a very important year! Looking back at 2016, we see a year of great change, challenges and progress in our mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Nothing affects the lives of those with lung disease more directly than medical research. In 2016, the American Lung Association made great strides to find better treatments to ease the burden of lung disease.
- Advancing Lung Cancer Research: Through a new collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer and LUNGevity Foundation, the American Lung Association announced its largest single investment in lung cancer research to date – the Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team.
- Partnership Testing COPD Treatment: Our Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) network will enroll and follow participants in the National Institutes of Health - National Heart, Lung Blood Institute (NIH-NHLBI) Pulmonary Trials Consortium LEEP Trial to test a treatment that may modify the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- ACRC Expands Impact: Already the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma and COPD, our ACRC network added new centers and more experts in 2016 – resulting in a stronger, more effective network across the nation.
- First Lung Cancer in Women Award: We funded a new research award to examine gender differences in lung cancer - the LUNG FORCE Research Innovation Project: Lung Cancer in Women Award. This award is funded by the Lung Association's LUNG FORCE initiative, which raises awareness of the impact of lung cancer in women and critical funds for lung cancer research.
Raising awareness about lung health and helping patients and caregivers understand and manage lung disease are critical to our mission. In 2016, we made even more Americans aware of lung disease – especially lung cancer – and added significantly to our array of tools and resources for those who come to us every day for trusted help and information.
- Turquoise Takeover: In recognition of National Women's Lung Health Week (May 8 – 14), buildings and landmarks across the country were illuminated in turquoise—the signature color of LUNG FORCE. Illuminations included One World Trade Center in New York City, Hoover Dam, and many more!
- New Lung Cancer Immunotherapy Educational Tools: Immunotherapy research is advancing every day for lung cancer. To keep patients and caregivers informed on the advancing field on immunotherapy, we released an interactive infographic, a brochure, and a video of two of our LUNG FORCE Heroes' sharing their experience.
- Freedom From Smoking® Plus: In order to continue providing proven-effective quit smoking support through the most comprehensive smoking cessation program in the country, the Lung Association unveiled Freedom From Smoking Plus an interactive, online quit-smoking that includes activities, videos, quizzes and more.
- Asthma Basics in Spanish: Our popular Asthma Basics online learning program was made available, en español. Asthma Basics is ideal for newly diagnosed adults with asthma; parents of children with asthma, or anyone who wants to learn about asthma.
- LUNG FORCE Expos Educate Patients and Providers: Our LUNG FORCE Expos are a great opportunity for patients and healthcare professionals to learn more about the latest trends, resources and research surrounding lung disease. In 2016, Expos brought patient and provider education and resources to 28 communities in 24 states nationwide.
For more than a half century, the American Lung Association has been working to protect every American's right to breathe clean, healthy air. 2016 saw both progress and challenges.
- "State of the Air" Report: Our 2016 "State of the Air" report found that more than half of all Americans still live in areas with unhealthful levels of air pollution, placing them at risk for premature death and other serious health effects. Learn more about the air quality where you live and how you can help make it healthier.
- Protecting the Air We Breathe: Our ongoing defense of the healthy air protections under the Clean Air Act continued in 2016. The Clean Air Act is vital to preventing harmful levels of pollution like what is now seen in places like London, Paris and Beijing and in some parts of the United States. Please join our fight against efforts to block, weaken or delay clean air protections in 2017.
- Climate Change and Health: On April 4, the Lung Association was proud to have a representative speaking on a panel at the White House for the release of The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. That day, we released a Declaration on Climate Change and Health, signed by 17 health and medical organizations. Later this year, we helped organize and release a similar declaration signed by more than 1,300 health professionals in all 50 states.
- Defending the Clean Power Plan: In September, the Lung Association joined with others to defend the Clean Power Plan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Clean Power Plan limits carbon pollution from power plants, which will help combat climate change and save lives by reducing other harmful power plant pollution at the same time.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the U.S., and is the top risk factor for both lung cancer and COPD, along with many other cancers and health issues. This year saw several important milestones in reducing the toll of tobacco.
- "State of Tobacco Control" Report: On February 3, we released "State of Tobacco Control" 2016, that evaluates key federal and state policies to reduce tobacco use. This signature report found that policymakers in Washington, D.C., and across the country are still failing to take action to end tobacco-caused death and disease. See how your own state fared.
- FDA Asserts Authority over All Tobacco Products: On May 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asserted its regulatory authority over all tobacco products including e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah. The Lung Association has worked toward these commonsense protections for several years. This is a major step in the right direction toward protecting our youth and future generations from harmful tobacco products, exposure to nicotine and a lifetime of addiction.
- Smokefree Public Housing: On November 30, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced its plan to require all federally owned public housing agencies to implement smokefree policies. This rule will protect two million Americans from exposure to harmful secondhand smoke in their homes. The American Lung Association is proud to have played a leading role in making this lifesaving policy a reality.
- U.S. Surgeon General's Report on E-Cigarette Use among Youth and Young Adults: On December 8, the U.S. Surgeon General released a new report, "E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General." The groundbreaking report sounds the alarm that e-cigarette use is not safe. The report concludes that flavors appeal to kids and that these flavors are one of the primary reasons youth and young adults try an e-cigarette for the first time.
Advocating at the state and federal level for laws that protect our lungs is an integral part of our lifesaving mission. Our legislative victories from 2016 will help us all breathe easier in 2017!
- LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day: On our first LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., in March, LUNG FORCE Heroes from all 50 states met with their senators and representatives. They shared their stories and asked for sustained and increased research lung cancer funding for the NIH.
- Lung Cancer Research Funding Goal Exceeded: The NIH announced that its funding for lung cancer research was estimated to grow to $362 million in 2016 – up from $349 million in 2015 and $254 million in 2014. This dramatic increase spells new hope for lung cancer patients and marks an inspiring win for our LUNG FORCE initiative, which has worked nonstop the past two years to make this happen! Our new goal for federal government research investing is at least $450 million by 2020.
- Cancer Moonshot and National Radon Action Plan: On October 10 our National President and CEO Harold Wimmer was in Washington, D.C., for Vice President Joe Biden's presentation of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force report, a part of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, which seeks to ultimately end cancer as we know it. The report lists as a success the National Radon Action Plan. This plan to significantly reduce radon exposure - the second leading cause of lung cancer - was led by the American Lung Association and developed with national partners.
OUR AGENDA FOR 2017
You've seen some of what we have accomplished, with your support in 2016. Now we want to hear from you about what our priorities should be for 2017! Get involved by letting us know your lung health priorities, and we'll make sure to keep you up to date with progress on the issues that matter most to you.