European COPD Coalition

PHE youtube film on COPDFor this year’s British January Smokefree campaign Public Health England (PHE) put the spotlight on COPD. The aim of the campaign is to illustrate the harm that smoking does to health, and encourage smokers to quit for good.

[source: Public Health England]

PHE released a new short film (see here and on right hand-side bar, on this website’s homepage) featuring Olympian Iwan Thomas, whose mother has recently been diagnosed with COPD. Together with 4 smokers, Iwan takes part in an experiment to illustrate the difficulties of living with advanced COPD and urges people to quit this New Year.


Happy new year

December 28th, 2015 | Posted by European COPD Coalition in Campaigns - (0 Comments)

triptyqueThe European COPD Coalition secretariat and Board wish you all a healthy and prosperous new year.

May 2016 be about better health for those living with COPD and enhanced quality of life.

Air pollution impact on HealthToday 15 December 2015, the NEC directive was being discussed in Council, by ministers of Environment.

[Image source: EEA
Text source: European Environmental Bureau]

The 28 Ministers fell short of the mark on the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive, aimed at improving Europe’s poor air quality. Despite a strong steer from the European Parliament earlier this year, national ministers opted to water down this text thereby allowing emissions from harmful pollutants such as ammonia and fine particles to continue to be churned out in dangerously high amounts. The text also entirely removes methane from the Directive and contains a series of exemptions making the limits to be put in place at best unenforceable and at worst meaningless.

The National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive sets limits to the amount of pollution every EU country can emit on a yearly basis. Currently, the EU is looking at setting new caps for 2020, 2025 and 2030 for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), ammonia (NH3) and methane (CH4). The European Parliament broadly backed the European Commission’s proposal in a plenary vote on 28 October. Negotiations between the Parliament and Council are expected to start under the Dutch Presidency in 2016.

Air pollution continues to cause hundreds of thousands of premature deaths in the EU every year, as confirmed by the European Environment Agency (EEA) air quality report from this year.


Logos Open Letter Ministers







Brussels, 10 December 2015

Dear Ministers,

[Sent to 28 Health ministers, Environment ministers, Health and Environment Attachés (in Brussels)]

Subject: Public Health recommendations for strong National Emission Ceiling (NEC) Directive

We, the undersigned 17 health organisations, representing thousands of health professionals and affected European citizens, are writing to you ahead of the 16th December meeting where you will discuss the revision of the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive to urge you to support saving the lives of tens of thousands of Europeans lost each year. We urge you to:

  1. Keep methane and mercury among the pollutants covered by the targets, based on the strong scientific evidence of their contribution to air pollution and health impacts;
  2. Include legally binding targets for all pollutants for Member States to be met by 2025, targets supported by the European Parliament, and give priority to early action to significantly decrease air pollution
  3. Support greater emission reduction commitments (ERCs) going beyond the 52% reduction in health impact by 2030 as proposed by the European Commission. This is especially important for ammonia as cutting its emissions would reduce Particulate matter (PM) levels and exposure and therefore improve people’s health;
  4. Reject unnecessary flexibilities which could in-fact dilute the ambitious content of the Directive, such as the adjustment of emission inventories, adjustment of emission factors and three-year averaging in case of dry summers or cold winters.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to air pollutants, including fine particulate matter, is a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases in adults, including ischemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and cancer. WHO evidence also underline that children’s healthy development is particularly under threat from air pollution (1). It poses a considerable health threat not only to current but also future generations (2). New studies are emerging which indicate the role of ambient air pollution in the development of other chronic conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, mental health, obesity (3) and childhood leukaemia (4). Air pollution has a gender dimension too because of physiological differences between women and men leading to differing pollutant health effects. PM associated Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) risks are statistically significantly higher among women with diabetes (5).


IMG_3641Today, 18 November 2015, the European COPD Coalition (ECC) organised free lung testing (spirometry) in the Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels. More than 250 civil servants’ breathing capacity were assessed and information shared about COPD. The aim of the event was to raise awareness on the condition with the staff working for top EU decision makers, so that they could understand the importance of the disease and invite, with ECC their employers to take action.

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is a long-term lung and airways disease that is not curable. It affects up to 10% of the European adult population – and yet very few people know about it.

COPD causes wheezing, shortness of breath, persistent cough, chest tightness, and other symptoms. It makes breathing very difficult. And you cannot breathe, nothing else matters. It is the 5th cause of death and will be the 3rd at global level by 2030 according to WHO, if we don’t take appropriate action to stop it. COPD is the 3rd chronic disease, after cardiovascular diseases, cancer and before diabetes, in terms of prevalence, incidence and mortality. Every year, 200,000 people die of COPD in the EU.