Our History

For more than 115 years, the American Lung Association has been America's trusted champion for lung health.

Decades of Lifesaving Milestones

Over the past 115 years, the American Lung Association has grown in size and reach. We have a staff of over 500 with hundreds of volunteers in communities both large and small across the entire U.S. Together, we have put our model to good use for the betterment of all.

  • The American Lung Association pioneered the model of education, advocacy and research to address public health issues.
  • Christmas Seals, launched by the Lung Association as a fundraiser to eliminate tuberculosis, is an enduring symbol of the power of volunteers to make a difference in lung health.
  • Our Association was among the first to make the connection between air pollution and lung health.
  • We advocate for both the Clean Air Act and Clean Power Plan.
  • We helped to eliminate smoking on domestic flights; championed the passing of the Tobacco Control Act; and helped achieve increasing 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.
  • The Association’s LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together for lung health and against lung cancer, the number one cancer killer of women in the U.S.

Throughout the 20th century, and now well into the 21st, the American Lung Association has remained steadfast in its mission of saving lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. As long as anyone struggles to breathe freely, our Association will be there to champion healthy lungs. 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.

Page last updated: September 14, 2023

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