120 Years of Impact

For more than 120 years, the American Lung Association has been America’s trusted champion for lung health.

We are proud of how far we have come in 120 years. Our history is full of milestones including significant public health achievements, ground-breaking research, and developing support communities for those impacted by lung disease. Today, we are more focused than ever on our four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer, create a tobacco-free future, champion clean air for all, and improve the quality of life for those living with lung disease.

Join us as we celebrate 120 Years of Impact!

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Founded in 1904, the American Lung Association pioneered a groundbreaking model of education, advocacy and research to save lives. Join us in our journey to champion lung health and help us celebrate 120 years of impact.

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See Our History

Check out our historical timeline of key milestones and public health achievements.
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Be Part of the Impact

We have more to do to achieve our vision of a world free of lung disease. You can help.
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"In 1884, my great-grandfather, Edward L. Trudeau, a co-founder of the American Lung Association, created the country’s first public tuberculosis sanitarium in Saranac Lake, NY. It was founded on his holistic insight, not then fully understood, that if you optimized a patient’s living conditions, the body does a remarkable job of healing itself. Today, thanks to antibiotics, the immune system doesn’t have to carry the load all by itself, but we still need to continue spreading the important message of good lung health. Congratulations to the American Lung Association on 120 years of fighting for air," 

—Garry Trudeau, great grandson of the founder of the Lung Association and creator of the Doonesbury comic strip.

Decades of Lifesaving Achievements

blue cross of lorraineFor over 120 years, the American Lung Association has remained steadfast in our mission of saving lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. Guided by a strong moral compass, we will continue to advance our mission. And through expertise, responsible innovation and taking bold actions, we will realize our vision of a world free of lung disease.

Because of the strong support of our community, and our dedicated staff and volunteers, we will continue to celebrate milestones like:

  • Pioneering the model of education, advocacy and research to address public health issues.
  • Launching Christmas Seals as a fundraiser to eliminate tuberculosis - an enduring symbol of the power of volunteers to make a difference in lung health. 
  • Being among the first to make the connection between air pollution and lung health. 
  • Advocating for both the Clean Air Act and Clean Power Plan. 
  • Supporting efforts to eliminate smoking on domestic flights; championing the passing of the Tobacco Control Act; and helping achieve the increased the age of sale for all tobacco products to age 21. 
  • Our research discovered the gene that causes cystic fibrosis, the cause of infant respiratory distress syndrome, and a gene that causes lung cancer. 
  • Launching LUNG FORCE, now celebrating its own 10th anniversary, to unite everyone across the country in standing together for lung health and against lung cancer, the number one cancer killer in the U.S. 

Page last updated: June 7, 2024

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