Historical Milestones

 ALA History

For over 100 years, the American Lung Association has led the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air. Today, our fight is more important than ever.

Now in our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives, improve lung health and prevent lung disease. The American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy.

1904

The American Lung Association is founded as the National Association for the Study and Prevention of  Tuberculosis, the first voluntary health agency.

1907

The first U.S. Christmas Seal is created by Emily Bissell, a volunteer from Delaware.

1929

The National Tuberculosis Association develops new techniques with X-ray machines to diagnose lung  disease.

1944

Dr. Selman Waksman isolates streptomycin - the first effective drug treatment against tuberculosis.

1948

The Lung Association begins its medical research and teaching fellowships award program.

1950

Lung Association research grantee Dr. Edith Lincoln discovers that isoniazid prevents serious complications  of some types of tuberculosis in children.

1956

The Lung Association's medical research grants program is expanded to include research for a larger  number of lung diseases.

1959

Dr. Mary Ellen Avery, a Lung Association research grantee, was a member of the research team that  discovered the role surfactant plays in keeping the air sacs of the lungs open and in determining the fact that  the lungs of babies with respiratory distress syndrome lack this substance.

1963

The American Lung Association begins working against the alarming rise in lung diseases due to tobacco  use.

1964

The Surgeon General releases a report linking smoking with lung disease.

1973

The organization changes its name to the American Lung Association to better reflect its efforts to fight a  variety of threats to lung health.

1981

The Lung Association opens its Washington Office to more effectively advocate for lung health issues before  the Congress and federal agencies.

1989

The Lung Association successfully lobbies for a ban on smoking on domestic passenger flights of six hours  of less.

1990

The Lung Association plays a key role in the adoption of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 - the first air  pollution law passed in more than 10 years.

1991

The Lung Association adopts the Open Airways For Schools program to teach self-management techniques  to children with asthma.

1996

The Lung Association works with the White House and FDA to develop regulations to protect children from  the dangers of tobacco use.

1997

EPA issues stricter national health standards for smog and soot, the result of lawsuits filed by the Lung  Association.

1998

The American Lung Association leads a coalition to deny the tobacco industry immunity from civil lawsuits.

1999

The ALA successfully fought to get the EPA finalizes new rules to reduce pollution from cars and SUVs.

2000

The American Lung Association launches the American Lung Association Asthma Clinical Research Centers  network.

The first annual American Lung Association State of the Air report is issued.

The EPA adopts tough pollution standards for diesel trucks and buses..

2002

The Lung Association settled two successful lawsuits against the EPA that removed roadblocks to cleaning  up smog and soot pollution.

2004

The American Lung Association celebrates 100 years of fighting lung disease and promoting lung health.

2007

New Hampshire joins the rest of the New England states by banning smoking in bars and restaurants.

2009

Congress grants regulatory control over tobacco regulatory control over tobacco to the Food and Drug Administration after a decade long fight by American Lung Association and partners.