European COPD Coalition

Quit smokingThe ECC is conducting a reflection on standards of care for people living with COPD and recommends as a first course of action to quit smoking. Easier said than done: although there is a large panel of solutions available, and no “one size fits all” answer, it remains very difficult to find the appropriate means to stop the deadly habit.

Yet, when one lives with COPD, the best thing one can do to improve one’s health is quit, as:

  • Within 72 hours: blood pressure decreases, pulse are drops, the risk of a heart attack decreases and the ability to small and taste increases,
  • within a couple of weeks: lung function increases, circulation improves and walking becomes easier,


Photo Catherine StihlerChronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)  affects up to 10% of European adults and is the fourth cause of death worldwide, and is expected to be in third place by 2030 (1). As yet, few EU leaders or policy-makers are aware of this fact. Until this changes, little political action will be given to tackle one of the most acute public health issues in Europe.

“As a first step to effectively address this public health threat, we should get much better at raising awareness of this condition. The Scottish Parliament’s motion on World COPD Day is an excellent example of how to make this happen,” argued Catherine Stihler MEP (S&D, UK – pictured here, at the European Parliament) on the occasion of World COPD Day. (2)

COPD is not curable and treatments only affect symptoms. It includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and given how widespread COPD is, it is unacceptable that this condition has not received more attention in terms of prevention, better care, treatment, research and training of healthcare professionals (3).

COPD infographic_300dpi

COPD deaths increasing annually, yet little or no priority given to COPD by public health and policy makers in many European countries, according to survey released to mark World COPD Day 2014

19th November 2014: Results from a new survey looking at the burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) across 11 European countries have highlighted continued low public awareness of COPD,1 despite the condition causing more than 55 times as many deaths as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus).2,3

[download our infographic]

COPD is a life-threatening lung disease in which the airways are restricted, making it difficult to breathe. It affects up to one in ten adults of the European population and 64 million people die of COPD in the world, every year2.


Inside leaflet Challenge your Lungs WCD14On World COPD Day, 19th November 2014, the European COPD Coalition will challenge the EU staff for them to understand how difficult it is for people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to breathe.

ECC staff will be distributing leaflets at the entrance of the European Commission headquarters (the Berlaymont building), in front of the Directorate General for environment offices all through the 19th November morning and  at lunch time, near the canteen entrance of the European Parliament (EP) Brussels buildings. MEP Catherine Stihler will be supporting ECC’s distribution of information, within the EP.

ECC is asking EU leaders and their staff to “challenge your lungs” by suggesting two exercises: take three set of stairs reasonably fast and/or try breathing through a straw for two minutes. If breathing is easy, readers of the leaflet are requested to consider how difficult these actions may be for people struggling with COPD. If the challenge is proving difficult, readers are advised to see a healthcare professional and take a lung test.

The aim is to raise awareness about the disease and for people working in these buildings to better understand the condition and its impact on everyday life. EU leaders, with better knowledge about COPD will be asked to support an EU regulatory framework to tackle COPD from all its aspects: prevention, care, research, and rehabilitation.

On 5 September 2014 is launched the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign, in support of World Spirometry Day 2014. Healthy Lungs for Life is one of the largest ever lung health campaigns, raising awareness of the importance of healthy lungs to healthcare professionals, scientists, primary care, patients, policy makers and the public through a full range of events, projects and promotional activities.

In 2014, the theme is “Breathe clean air”. At the European level, ERS and ELF are the intiators of events.

In 2014, Healthy Lungs for Life aims to increase knowledge of the impact of poor air quality on lung health and to raise awareness of the actions that everyone can take to protect their own lungs from indoor and outdoor air pollution.

ECC will be present on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 at the Munich Odeonsplatz lung function testing events and cordially invites you to join ECC there.