CHESTPress ReleasesWorld Lung Day 2023

World Lung Day 2023

GLENVIEW, IL - This World Lung Day, September 25, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), of which the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) is a founding member, is calling on governments and health care providers worldwide to give equitable access to preventative services and treatments for respiratory conditions and lifesaving pneumonia vaccines for children.

The theme for this year’s World Lung Day is “Access to Prevention and Treatment for All. Leave No One Behind,” reflecting the commitment to equity that is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This commitment is especially crucial given that 80% of noncommunicable disease-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This huge health burden could be prevented by implementing cost-effective interventions, such as vaccination against pneumonia and improved access to preventative services and inhaled medicines.

The availability of inhaler therapies is far from the target of achieving 80% availability of essential medicines to combat noncommunicable diseases, including asthma, COPD and lung cancer. Health care access equity is equally crucial for respiratory infections, including tuberculosis. Through equal access to early detection, treatment can begin as soon as possible, effectively reducing the health burden of both respiratory infections and noncommunicable respiratory conditions.

FIRS has identified three key target areas to tackle inequalities in the fight against respiratory disease: Improving access to preventative services and stop-smoking treatments, expanding access to inhalation therapies and strengthening access to effective pneumonia vaccines for children. Despite global progress in pneumonia vaccine access, 40% of infants are still left behind.

To reduce the global burden of respiratory diseases, it's crucial to take action in these key areas.

Access to preventative services and stop-smoking treatments

  • Smoking tobacco is the leading cause of respiratory diseases, including COPD, lung cancer and asthma, and it increases the risk of respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

  • Exposure to tobacco smoke harms children even before birth. Reducing exposure to tobacco smoke helps improve children’s long-term lung health.

  • Educational, counselling and pharmacological interventions for smoking cessation are effective. They should be available for anyone who smokes.

Expanding access to devices and inhalation therapies

  • Effective and essential inhaled medicines for treating asthma and COPD are often unavailable and unaffordable in LMICs. We need urgent collective global action to achieve the World Health Organization’s target of 80% availability of essential medicines to treat major noncommunicable diseases.

  • Respiratory devices and inhalational therapies, including oxygen therapy, should be available to anyone who is affected.

Access for all children to effective, affordable preventative interventions for pneumonia

Further information

About the American College of Chest Physicians
The American College of Chest Physicians® (CHEST) is the global leader in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chest diseases. Its mission is to champion advanced clinical practice, education, communication and research in chest medicine. It serves as an essential connection to clinical knowledge and resources for its 22,000+ members from around the world who provide patient care in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. For information about the American College of Chest Physicians, and its flagship journal CHEST®, visit

About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies
The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is a collaborative organization consisting of the world's foremost international respiratory societies. Comprising over 70,000 members globally, FIRS is dedicated to advancing lung health on a global scale.

FIRS is composed of prestigious respiratory societies, including the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), Asociación Latinoamericana de Tórax (ALAT), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).