CHESTPress ReleasesWorld COPD Day 2023

Breathing is life—act earlier

The Forum of International Respiratory Societies highlights World COPD Day 2023

GLENVIEW, IL - In support of World COPD Day, on November 15, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), of which the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) is a founding member, is highlighting the crucial role of early lung health, early diagnosis and early intervention in managing COPD. This year’s theme, "Breathing is Life – Act Earlier," emphasizes that maintaining healthy lungs is essential for our overall well-being, and early action is more critical than ever.

COPD, a progressive respiratory disease characterized by breathlessness, chronic sputum production and cough, is a major global health concern. It is estimated that 3 million people die each year from COPD, and this number is projected to rise due to aging populations and continued exposure to risk factors such as tobacco smoke and air pollution.

While tobacco smoke remains the primary risk factor for COPD, recent research has identified other contributing factors, including genetics and early-life exposures. This underscores the importance of considering lung health throughout one's lifespan, from early development to adulthood.

This year’s campaign will focus on highlighting the importance of early lung health and how we can expand COPD prevention and treatment by acting earlier. This can include preventing early risk factors, monitoring lung health from birth, diagnosing COPD in a precursor state and providing treatment promptly.

Initiatives to reduce the burden of COPD are taking place worldwide, including smoking cessation programs, fighting against both indoor and outdoor air pollution as well as examining childhood disadvantage factors. Although there is no current cure for COPD, actions to prevent it and improve quality of life can take place anywhere by a variety of individuals in many types of settings. Employers can strive for safe breathing environments, citizens can be good stewards of air cleanliness and both patients and families can help advocate for more research and better access to care, including essential medications, routine pulmonary function screenings and other treatments like telehealth access for patients in remote settings.

In addition, providers and policymakers can work together to improve access to spirometry and advocate for its use as a general health marker in all stages of life, important not only for the diagnosis of respiratory diseases but also as a general health marker.

Join World COPD Day events on November 15, 2023, to raise awareness, promote early action and improve the lives of those affected by COPD. For more, visit the CHEST Topic Collection on COPD.

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 (FIRS)
The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organisation comprised of the world's leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally: American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), 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), Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).

The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally.