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Mission Moment September - 2015

(September 15, 2015)

We may have closed out a busy summer but we have no plans to slow down this fall! Here are some highlights from the past month, including helping to create lung-friendly workplaces, the start of LUNG FORCE Expo season, and learning that Americans really want less smog in the air they breathe.

On September 9, our National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer, our National Board of Directors Chair Kathryn A. Forbes and LUNG FORCE Hero Lysa B. were in Washington, DC to meet with key members of Congress and their staffs about the importance of funding for the National Institutes of Health and personalized medicine, which offers some of the best hopes for treating lung cancer.  In each meeting, they also stressed the importance of removing funding “caps” on federal spending because these restrictive spending limits severly reduce much needed investments in public health and biomedical research.

A new nationwide survey conducted for the American Lung Association showed overwhelming public support for stricter smog standards, despite millions of dollars spent on advertising by the opposition. We asked voters across the country if they support stricter limits on the smog pollution they breathe. Their answer was a resounding YES! A staggering majority – 73 percent - of voters support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placing stricter limits on the amount of ozone pollution (also called smog) that power plants, oil refineries and other industrial facilities can release. Learn more and lend your voice.

LUNG FORCE Expo season in underway again. We’re excited to offer day-long education and networking events for patients and healthcare professionals to learn more about the latest trends, resources and research surrounding lung cancer and other lung diseases. The Expo features experts from a variety of lung health-related fields presenting current research and current issues, an exhibitor showcase, and a chance for patients, caregivers and the local medical community to connect.  See if there is an upcoming Expo in your area.

Data collected as part of a trial being conducted by our Airways Clinical Research Centers network was used to study overuse of the asthma medication albuterol, and was published in the prestigious Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  This study found that overuse of albuterol is relatively common among patients with asthma, and is a risk factor for poor outcomes, including clinical depression. The study found that among adults with mild asthma, albuterol use on symptom-free days is the most important driver of overuse. Compared to those who use albuterol less frequently, those who overuse the medication are at twice the risk for clinical depression.  The recommendation for healthcare providers is that when albuterol overuse is suspected, the patient should also be monitored for signs of depression.

On September 3rd we recognized CVS Health on the one-year anniversary of their bold move to remove all tobacco products from the shelves in their nearly 8,000 CVS/pharmacy locations.

“CVS Health is a leader in addressing a major public health problem. By successfully positioning health as part of its core business strategy, CVS Health is contributing to a trend in which businesses are valued for being compassionate,” said our National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. "The American Lung Association is committed to ending the tobacco epidemic in the United States. We applaud all retailers that have never sold or eliminated the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in their stores. We strongly urge all retailers, especially those with pharmacies, to do the same.”

Tobacco use kills almost half a million Americans each year, and impacts almost every system in the body, causing lung cancer, heart attacks, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). You can learn more in our statement recognizing CVS Health’s bold achievement.

The recent Labor Day holiday was a perfect reminder of the importance of lung-friendly workplaces. Of the over 19 million adults in the U.S. who live with asthma, 21.5 percent say that their asthma is made worse by exposures in their workplace. The American Lung Association is your source for information and tools to promote healthy air at work. For more information about steps to create a lung-friendly workplace, or to find educational resources for employees that want to quit smoking or are living with chronic lung disease such as asthma and COPD, see:

  • Guide to Safe and Healthy Workplaces: This free tool provides tested policy recommendations, implementation strategies and useful information that can support employers’ efforts to protect employee lung health by creating a safe and healthy working environment.
  • Guide to Controlling Asthma at Work: a resource for working adults with asthma to recognize possible exposures at work that makes breathing worse and the steps to take control.

September is Pulmonary Fibrosis Month. One way we help pulmonary fibrosis patients and caregivers is through our online support community, Living with Lung Disease. This free community connects people facing lung disease with their peers for education and support. The Lung Association also supports the Living with COPD and Lung Cancer Survivors social communities.

Everything we do is made possible because of our great supporters, like you! The lifesaving work that is carried out by American Lung Association staff and volunteers is only possible because so many generous donors across the country believe in our mission and support us through their donations. If you would like to become more involved, we always have opportunities for those who share our passion for lung health to join in our work.

Do you know someone who supports healthy air and healthy lungs? Invite them to receive the latest information on lung health and healthy air. Subscribe to LungNews Monthly.

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