Lung diseases cause one in 10 deaths

Lung conditions are the cause of one in 10 of all deaths in Europe and smoking is a major factor, says a report from the European Respiratory Society. But you will be in trouble if you think this is just about Europe; there are as many people with lung infections in other parts of the world as there are in Europe.

Lung conditions are the cause of one in 10 of all deaths in Europe and smoking is a major factor, says a report from the European Respiratory Society. But you will be in trouble if you think this is just about Europe; there are as many people with lung infections in other parts of the world as there are in Europe.

It says deaths from lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will rise over the next 20 years because of past smoking rates.

But a British lung charity says lung disease kills one in four in the UK. Yet it does not receive priority when it comes to prevention, treatment or research funding, it says.

The data, presented in a publication called the European Lung White Book, uses the latest data from the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control to analyse trends in lung disease.

Health hazard

The data in the White Book also shows that half of the total socio-economic costs of respiratory disease can be put down to smoking.

It describes tobacco smoking as “the most important health hazard in Europe” and it maintains that smoking is the main preventable cause of death from illnesses such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coronary artery disease.

While smoking rates in many high-death rate countries such as Denmark and the UK have fallen significantly since the 1970s, the report says the long-term effects of those habits are keeping cases of lung cancer and COPD at high levels.

This means the proportion of deaths caused by lung conditions is likely to remain stable over the next 20 years, even though a decrease in lung infections is predicted.

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