Summer 2013 Air Matters E-Newsletter

(June 28, 2013)

Rene Klein ALA OfficeGreetings!

Do you ever wonder how clean the air you breathe is?

If so, you will want to check out the latest findings in the American Lung Association’s 14th annual State of the Air report.

  • In our 7-state Mountain Pacific region, we have much to celebrate, including:
  • -Honolulu ranked as one of the nine cleanest cities in the nation for ozone.
    -Four cities (Cheyenne, Wyo.; Pocatello, Idaho; Anchorage, Alaska; and Boise City, Idaho) ranked in the top 25 cleanest cities in the nation for annual particle pollution!
    -Six counties (Laramie, Sweetwater, Park, and Teton Counties in Wyo.; Maui County, Hawaii and Bannock County, Idaho) ranked on the list of “Top 25 cleanest counties” for year-round particle pollution levels.
    -No cities or counties in our seven-state region were ranked among the “Top 25 most polluted” cities or counties for ozone.

Some areas in our region that still need efforts toward cleaner air:
-Sublette County, Wyo. received a failing grade for too many days with unhealthy levels of ozone pollution.
-Fairbanks, Alaska was ranked the 9th most polluted city in the nation for particle pollution levels.

As you can see, we have much to celebrate, while at the same time, much work to still do! I hope you will visit to learn how you can protect your health from air pollution and help make our air cleaner and healthier.

Yours in health,

Renée Klein
President and CEO


Enjoy the Great Outdoors Safely with Support from the Lung HelpLine   

Those long-awaited “lazy, hazy, crazy” days of summer are finally here, filled with endless opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. Unfortunately, those fun summer activities may also expose us to poor air quality, triggering breathing issues that can make outdoor enjoyment more difficult. The American Lung Association’s Lung Helpline is here to help you with your air quality questions.

The Lung Helpline is a free resource that provides counseling with our Registered Nurses, Respiratory Therapists and Quit-Smoking Specialists. The Helpline is available seven days a week from 7:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. Central Time (calls received outside those hours will be returned the next day). The Helpline provides assistance in over 200 languages, as well as TTY services for the hearing impaired.

Lung HelpLine CallerThe Lung Helpline can assist you with questions related to the following issues:

* Air quality
* Asthma control and medication
* Smoking cessation
* Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis (COPD)
* Lung Cancer
* Health effects of heat, humidity and mold
Call the Lung Helpline today at 1-800-LUNG-USA, or submit questions via email to, before those summer days slip away!

Bike Team

Raising Funds, Having Fun!     

Looking to be entertained, get in shape, or meet new people? We have a variety of opportunities to help meet your personal goals, all while supporting healthy lungs and clean air!

  • *Ride Around the Sound, Washington: Join us September 14 for the second annual Ride Around The Sound—a fantastic cycling adventure around the incredibly scenic Puget Sound! Choose from 30- or 75-mile routes, with options to go 100 miles if you are looking for a challenge. Join us in the fight against lung disease - register today!

*American Lung Association Night at the Portland Timbers, Oregon: Join us on Sunday, August 4, at 6:00 p.m. as the Portland Timbers Reserves take on the Vancouver Reserves. Tickets are only $10, of which $3 benefits the Lung Association. Get your tickets today!

*Breathe Easy Breakfast, Honolulu: Join us Sunday, August 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at The Harbor View Center for The Breathe Easy Breakfast. Meet Olin Kreutz, one of Hawaii’s most famous athletes recently retired from the NFL. Tickets are just $45 per person—reserve your spot today!

* Breathe Boot Camp, Seattle: Join a healthy, playful exercise event led by experienced trainers. Second Wednesday of every month at Denny Park. Join anytime between 5:30-6:10 pm; free happy hour follows. Sign up today!


Big Riders with National Lung Association CEO
Big Ride Participants with national American Lung Association President & CEO, Harold Wimmer


Thank you to all of the participants, donors and volunteers from our recent events!

* Fight for Air Climb, Boise – On April 27, 170 individuals took to the stairs of the US Bank Plaza, climbing anywhere from 36 to 144 flights of stairs! New this year was a special “Adopt a Firefighter” program which gave participants the chance to have a local hero climb in their honor. Participants raised over $45,000 for the American Lung Association’s local programs, research and advocacy efforts. We sincerely thank our sponsors

* Fight for Air Walk, Seattle - On May 5, more than 300 participants joined us for a 2.5-mile walk, as well as games, contests, a Canines for Clean Air parade and more. Participants raised funds to help fight lung disease so everyone can breathe easier. Thanks to all our sponsors, including Platinum Sponsor, Kindred Hospital!  

* Reach the Beach, Oregon - On May 18, more than 2,900 cyclists kicked off the official start of the Oregon cycling season in support of the American Lung Association. In our region’s largest fundraising event, participants raised more than $585,000 to support our mission of improving lung health and preventing lung disease. A special thank you to our sponsors!

* Clean Air Challenge, Alaska - The chilly temperatures and snow the weekend of May 18 couldn’t keep our dedicated cyclists from participating in this two-day destination ride to Talkeetna Lodge. Participants raised $185,000 for local lung health initiatives. Many thanks to our sponsors

* Big Ride Across America Send-Off, Seattle – On June 17, 14 individuals embarked on the journey of a lifetime, cycling cross-country from Seattle to Washington D.C. Special guest Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO for the American Lung Association, helped send the cyclists off on this 7-week, 3,300-mile incredible adventure. We are grateful to our Big Ride sponsors.

* Breathe Easy Breakfast, Seattle – Supporters gathered on June 25 at The Palace Ballroom to see the Port of Seattle receive this year’s Breathe Easy Champion Award. The Port was recognized for their efforts to reduce air pollution caused by maritime-related business and for becoming the greenest port in the nation. Attendees also heard from Keynote Speaker Dennis McLerran, Administrator for EPA’s Region 10 Office. A special thank you to our sponsors.

Take Action

 Advocating for Lung Health  

Throughout the Mountain Pacific region, we have numerous advocacy successes to celebrate in 2013. Although there is much opposition, great strides are being made in our fight for healthy air. Through our advocacy efforts in Alaska, the legislature’s proposal to cut $2.2 million dollars from the state tobacco prevention program was dropped to $74,000. Although funding was still lowered, we can count this as a small success in a much larger battle. In Hawaii, advocates were successful in returning the portion of tobacco settlement funds for prevention and control to the previous allotment of 6.5 percent. In Idaho, advocacy efforts were rewarded with continued funding for the Lung Association’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs. In Montana, funding for the statewide tobacco prevention program increased by $1.5 million over the next biennium.

In Oregon, the Lung Association took the lead in passing legislation that will protect children from secondhand smoke in cars, as well as securing an additional $4 million for the state’s tobacco prevention program in the next biennium. In Washington, legislation was passed to address climate change and to date, we have successfully defended Washington’s Clean Indoor Air Act, fighting off legislation that would allow licenses for 600 businesses to allow cigar smoking indoors. And in Wyoming, efforts are continuously increasing to raise the state’s tobacco tax and support an expansion of smoke-free environments.
As these examples demonstrate, we have much to be proud of in regards to our fight for clean air. Although we should celebrate these successes, there is also much more to do. The fight for clean, smoke-free, and pollutant-free air is not an easy one but through our continued advocacy efforts and leadership we can make great strides towards healthy lungs for all.


Taking Her Breath Away – The Rise of COPD in Women  

COPD is a serious lung disease that makes breathing progressively more difficult. Smoking is a major cause of COPD, though air pollution or irritants canWoman with oxygen also cause the disease.

The latest American Lung Association disparity report found that women are disproportionately affected by COPD. This unfair distribution of disease is being looked at through a growing body of evidence that women are biologically more suceptible to COPD than men. Women tend to be diagnosed later, have more severe symptoms, more frequent flare-ups, more co-occuring conditions, use more healthcare resources and are more likely hospitalized. Female lungs are also smaller than male lungs, with narrower airways and less respiratory muscle.

Individuals with the following symptoms should speak with their healthcare provider about their breathing difficulties:
* Continuous coughing
* Shortness of breath
* Overproduction of phlegm or mucus
* Difficulty breathing, such as taking a deep breath
* Wheezing

Although there is no cure for COPD, there are a variety of treatment and management tools available. The goals of treatment include symptom relief, deacceleration of the disease, and an improved and prolonged livelihood.

The American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific has several resources available for individuals with COPD and other lung diseases:
* Lung HelpLine: The Lung HelpLine (1-800-LUNG-USA, option 2) can answer questions about screening, diagnosis, treatment options, clinical trials and other resources available. Support is also available at:

* Better Breathers Clubs:  These free, monthly support groups provide resources and networking for adults with COPD and other lung diseases. Locate a Better Breathers Club online or call 1-800-LUNG-USA, option 1.

* Take Action Network:  Join our online community of concerned citizens who advocate for state and federal laws that support prevention and management of lung disease. Sign up today to receive important legislative updates by email.