Breathing is essential to life. That's why the American Lung Association is dedicated to supporting healthy lungs and clean air, because from our first breath to our last, every breath counts. To that end, we're making an impact in your community and across the nation.
Working to Defeat Lung Cancer
Improving Lung Cancer Screening
Supported by our Lung Cancer Discovery Award, Kristina Crothers, M.D. is studying the best ways to communicate with patients about the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening, as well as how to educate patients on screening results and follow-up.
Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of both women and men in the United States, and more than two-thirds of people diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked or are former smokers. In the last 37 years, the lung cancer death rate has risen 98 percent among women, while falling 28 percent among men.
LUNG FORCE, our public awareness and fundraising initiative, calls on all Americans to raise their voices to defeat this devastating disease. Our "Team Turquoise" is now more than 46,000 voices strong and growing every day since its inception in 2014.
Funding for lung cancer research lags behind other major causes in the U.S., and the American Lung Association has committed to funding $10 million specifically for lung cancer research with a focus on projects designed to find cures, and prevent and relieve suffering associated with lung cancer.
Simultaneously, we are continually developing and improving support resources for lung cancer patients and their caregivers. Through LUNG FORCE Expos, Patient Panels and Walks, online support resources and advocacy efforts, we are making a difference for the more than 400,000 Americans currently living who have ever been diagnosed with lung cancer and the more than 100,000 women who will be diagnosed every year.
Improving the Air We Breathe
Champion of Change
The White House honored Daniel Dolan-Laughlin, a Lung Association volunteer and recipient of a double lung transplant, as a "Champion of Change" who is working on the front lines to protect our health in a changing climate. "I'm someone for whom air quality means the difference between life and death," he said.
Air pollution poses a serious threat to our nation's health by harming our lung tissue and increasing our risk of lung disease. The American Lung Association works to protect public health from unhealthy air pollution by supporting the Clean Air Act and defending the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to ensure that all Americans can have air that is safe and healthy to breathe. This advocacy work includes encouraging more protective limits on ozone pollution, reducing power plant carbon emissions, and cleaner gasoline and vehicle standards. And through our annual State of the Air report, the American Lung Association analyzes data from official air quality monitors to easily compare and understand the air quality in your community, and what can be done to help improve the air we breathe!
Reducing the Burden of Lung Disease
More than 33 million Americans live with a chronic lung disease like asthma and COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Through education and support programs for those living with a lung disease, their caregivers and those that love them, the American Lung Association is continually working toward reducing the burden of living with a lung disease.
87 cents of every dollar goes to program services, and in 2014 we provided nearly $9 million for researchers seeking treatments and cures for lung diseases, including asthma, COPD and lung cancer.
Asthma makes breathing difficult for millions of Americans, both young and old. While there is no cure, asthma can be managed and treated so that for the 22 million Americans currently living with asthma, including the over 6 million children, can live a happy and healthy life. Through Asthma Basics, we are able to share a comprehensive and clear overview of asthma and the full suite of tools and resources available for those living with asthma, their caregivers and families, friends and healthcare professionals.
In 2013, 11.3 million U.S. adults were estimated to have COPD but close to 24 million adults have evidence of impaired lung function, indicating an under diagnosis of COPD, an obstructive lung disease that over time makes it harder to breathe. There are many lifestyle changes that happen after a diagnosis of COPD, and through our local Better Breathers Clubs, patients and their caregivers are able to come together for an in-person support group and learn more about the free tools and resources that the American Lung Association provides.
The American Lung Association is the premier resource for any lung-related question from the common flu to lung cancer, pneumonia to smoking cessation help. Our national Lung HelpLine is staffed by registered nurses, respiratory therapists, certified tobacco treatment specialists and counselors, and fielded over 120,000 callers in 2014.
Our quest to find cures, and new and improved treatments for lung disease includes our Nationwide Research Program that has been a cornerstone of our organization for more than a century. Through the American Lung Association's Awards and Grants Program, we are able to foster laboratory, patient-centered and social behavior research to prevent, treat and hopefully find a cure for all lung diseases.
Eliminating Tobacco Use and Tobacco-related Diseases
Last year, we provided education and support through the Lung HelpLine to more than 220,000 people, helping smokers quit and supporting those impacted by lung disease.
Every year, close to half a million people in the U.S. die from tobacco-caused disease, including more than 41,000 from exposure to secondhand smoke. Tragically, each day thousands of kids still pick up a cigarette for the first time. The cycle of addiction, illness and death continues. Through the American Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking® program, we have helped over a million Americans on their quest to live smokefree lives.
We are also working to strengthen laws and policies that protect everyone from secondhand smoke and the deadly effects of tobacco use, through our State of Tobacco Control report. We are happy to report that 28 states have passed comprehensive laws prohibiting smoking in almost all public places and workplaces, but we won't stop until everyone in all 50 states can enjoy clean, smokefree air where they live, work and play.
The American Lung Association is a highly trusted organization, committed to transparency and accountability. Learn more about our organization, and our impact, through our Annual Report.