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  • FY16 Annual Report Advocacy

Advocated For and Helped Secure $362 Million Investment in NIH Lung Cancer Research Funding in 2016

Advocacy means speaking out in support of something you care about. Together with our volunteers, the Lung Association urges our nation's leaders to create and preserve laws and policies that protect our health, based on health and medical science.

This past year, our work helped lead to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopting the most protective ozone standard in history. We led the work that created the first National Radon Action Plan to fight the second leading cause of lung cancer – exposure to radon gas. Our advocacy also helped push the EPA to create the first-ever limits to prevent emissions of methane and other toxic pollution from new and modified oil and gas facilities.

On August 3, 2015, we were honored to join President Obama at the White House as he announced the final Clean Power Plan - a plan we pushed for to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. This video from the EPA features Lung Association volunteer Laura Kellogg and her family.

Sumita Khatri, MD MS, (second from right) Lung Association Board Member and Advocacy ChairSumita Khatri, MD MS, (second from right) Lung Association Board Member and Advocacy Chair

In November 2015, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a new proposed rule that would make all federally owned public housing smokefree. We advocated for more than seven years for this rule, which will protect 2 million Americans from exposure to secondhand smoke in their homes.

Our innovative Medicaid Tobacco Cessation initiative is helping to ensure that this vulnerable population gets the help they need to quit smoking. And our work helped spur Hawaii, California and cities across the country to raise their legal tobacco sales age to 21 – a proven way to reduce youth smoking and save lives.

In May, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration issued its long-awaited final rule giving the agency regulatory authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah and other tobacco products. This was a major public health victory that we have worked for since President Obama signed the Tobacco Control Act in 2009.

Our newest policy project—our Asthma Guidelines-Based Care Initiative—assessed state Medicaid coverage for guidelines-based asthma care in the 23 states funded by the CDC National Asthma Control Program.

Making a Difference

  • 9M adults at risk for lung cancer can now receive lung cancer screening with no cost sharing
  • Brought together LUNG FORCE Heroes from all 50 states for 189 meetings with members of Congress to advocate for federal lung cancer research funding
  • Helped pass landmark tobacco laws, including raising tobacco sales age to 21 (CA, HI), removing tobacco from many baseball parks across the country, and much more
  • Helped launch the Clean Power Plan to fight the health risks from climate change
  • Successfully secured the most protective ozone standards in history
  • Led the development of the first National Radon Action Plan: Its immediate goal is to reduce radon risk in 5M homes and to save 3,200 lives by 2020
  • Successfully advocated for a new rule to bring all tobacco products—including cigars and e-cigarettes—under FDA authority
  • Fought back against attempts by the tobacco industry to weaken FDA's authority to protect the health of our children from cigars and e-cigarettes

Helping COPD Patients Choose Health Plans

COPD treatment can be costly and choosing the right insurance plan can be difficult. During the 2016 enrollment period for health exchanges, we created an easy-to-follow infographic that helped patients with COPD navigate through the sometimes-complicated process of choosing the right coverage for them, with the lowest out-of-pocket cost.

View infographic

Driving the Conversation

Our signature reports "State of Tobacco Control" and "State of the Air" raised national awareness about the critical health issues of tobacco use and air pollution.

  • Reached a potential combined audience of more than 2 billion people within 48 hours of release
  • Continued to drive national discussion about lung health throughout the year
  • Helped drive lifesaving changes in healthy air and tobacco control policies


Fighting for Smokefree Housing—Aaron Lipski

American Lung Association volunteer Aaron Lipski has good reason to advocate for smokefree public housing. He's the Deputy Chief, Milwaukee Fire Department, and along with the well-known health risks from smoking, he's seen the terrible destruction and loss of life caused by smoking-related fires in multi-unit housing.

Milwaukee, WI Deputy Fire Chief Aaron Lipski and American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold Wimmer.

"Smoking, and smoking-related materials are a major cause of residential fires, including those that occur in multi-unit dwellings," Aaron explains. "For example, in 2011, United States fire departments responded to about 90,000 smoking-related fires which caused 540 civilian deaths, 1,640 civilian injuries and $621 million in direct property damage."

He has been an active proponent of smokefree multi-unit housing, working with the American Lung Association in Wisconsin for several years. This year, he took the national stage, as one of many representatives of the American Lung Association on January 6, 2016, at the White House Convening on the Department of Housing and Urban Development's proposed Smokefree Public Housing Rule.

The proposed regulation will require all federally-owned public housing properties to adopt smokefree air policies and will therefore protect the two million residents of these properties from exposure to secondhand smoke at home.

"It's is a natural fit as both the Lung Association and fire departments aim to reduce smoking. We all want to reduce smoking, first because of the overwhelming health benefits, and second to eliminate smoking-related fires," said Aaron.

Furthering his commitment to reduce smoking, Aaron has also become a leader in the group working to implement "It's Quittin' Time," a multi-partner initiative encouraging smokers in the Milwaukee area to quit.

We salute Aaron and our thousands of American Lung Association volunteers across the country who help to improve America's lung health every day. You can learn more about smokefree public housing at Lung.org/smokefreehousing.