2006-2009 Press Releases

Respiratory doctors call for EU action on climate change

Brussels, 1 August 2009   Read the full press release

The risk of premature death due to temperature increases associated with global warming is six times higher for Europeans who are already suffering from respiratory problems, according to a paper published today.

Two leading health organisations, the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), want to ensure that the respiratory health effects and costs of climate change are considered in all discussions and recommended actions at the EU level.

The position paper published today (1) by the ERS describes the heavy burden of temperature increases and poor air quality on people whose health is already compromised due to respiratory problems, such as asthma, respiratory tract infections, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (2). For instance, a one degree Celsius increase in temperature produces a 1-3% increase in deaths in the general population, but this same temperature increase results in a 6% increase in deaths among people with respiratory conditions.

Read the ERS climate change position statement 

On 18 November, the European Respiratory Society celebrates European Antibiotic Awareness Day

18 November 2008  Read the full press release

Lausanne, The European Respiratory Society, ERS, an international medical society established in 1990 to promote better lung health through research and continued professional development for respiratory clinicians celebrates today the first-ever European Antibiotic Awareness Day.

European Antibiotic Awareness Day, which will be organized annually by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), is an occasion for people around Europe to raise awareness about the risks associated with inappropriate use of antibiotics, and how to take antibiotics responsibly. 

This year's theme, "Don't take antibiotics for colds and flu" sends an important message about that antibiotics do not work in the case of infections caused by viruses such as colds and flu.

Other links:
Respiratory infection highlights from Berlin as recommended by Dr Gernot Rohde (Assembly 10 Secretary)

Our education track on “Non-TB related respiratory infections and community acquired pneumonia” as recommended by Dr Mark Woodhead

Proceedings of the GRACE (Genomics to combat resistance against antibiotics in community-acquired LRTIs in Europe) project which is our collaborative project with partners ESCMID (the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases)

Smoke-free policies are wide-ranging and extremely effective

   Read the full press release

Smoke-free policies are reducing heart disease related to smoke exposure, the prevalence of smoking in adults and the exposure of both adults and children to second-hand smoke. Further, such policies do not decrease the business activity of the restaurant and bar industry. A reduction in the lung cancer burden is plausible, but relevant evidence will only become available in the future. The findings appear in the latest of a series of Special Reports from the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC), published exclusively Online and in the July edition of The Lancet Oncology. The issue is dedicated to lung cancer and will be presented at the International Lung Cancer Conference, Liverpool, UK, from 9–12 July.

Special Report: Policy
Effectiveness of smoke-free policies


Half of Europe's workforce remain unprotected from secondhand smoke at work

16 April 2008

  Read the full press release

Less than a third of the European Union’s Member States have introduced fully comprehensive smokefree legislation, three years after the world’s first public health treaty on tobacco control – the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) – introduced the need for protecting employees from the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke.

Today’s ‘Spotlight on the FCTC*’ reveals how only nine of the 25 EU Member States that have signed and ratified the WHO treaty have so far introduced comprehensive smokefree legislation – leaving over half of Europe’s workforce exposed to secondhand smoke. 

Spotlight on the framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

Smokefree Laws Inevitable Worldwide, says new international report

Brussels, 31 May 2007 Read the full press release 
More than 200 million people worldwide will be fully protected from secondhand smoke at work and in public places by 1st July 2007, according to a report published today (May 31). The report concludes that the dramatic success of smokefree laws makes it inevitable that comprehensive smokefree air legislation will be introduced worldwide, including in all European Countries.

The report, Global Voices for a Smokefree World, was released by the Global Smokefree Partnership to coincide with the World Health Organization's World No Tobacco Day.

"We are proud that European Countries such are Ireland or the UK are in the lead of countries taking action on secondhand smoke" said Fiona Godfrey of the European Respiratory Society. "According to the report, by 1st July 200, at least 65 million European citizens will be protected by 100% smoke free laws in these two countries alone."
However, the report warns that with each year government's delay taking action, billions are left exposed to the lethal chemical cocktail of secondhand tobacco smoke, including 390 or so million people living in the other European countries of the EU.
The Smoke Free Partnership believes that these hard-hitting messages present a strong case for all EU governments to meet the challenge to make all indoor workplaces and public places 100% smokefree without delay.

European Parliament scraps smoking ban after only six weeks. Health organisations condemn European Parliament for failing to protect staff and visitors and wasting millions of Euros

Brussels, 12 February 2007 Read the full press release 
On Monday 12th February, the European Parliament Bureau voted 14 to 1 to scrap recently introduced provisions banning smoking in its premises. The rules were introduced in all the Parliament buildings in Belgium, France and Luxembourg on 1 January 2007 as a result of a 2004 case to the European Ombudsman who found that the Parliament was failing to protect the health of its staff. According to a report in the Parliament's Newshound magazine the rules were scrapped because of "enforcement" problems and because the smoking ban was interfering with the "smooth running of our parliamentary and administrative business." The EP is now proposing to adopt smoking rooms after consultation with Parliament's administration.

Health advocates are appalled by the Bureau's actions: "This decision flies in the face of all the independent scientific evidence on the harm caused by passive smoking. It also ignores the fact that European citizens and the Bureau's constituents overwhelmingly support smokefree workplaces", said Luk Joossens of the European Cancer Leagues.

"There are smoking bans in place in all the countries in which Parliament is located. French, Belgians and Luxembourgers have had no problems complying with these laws so how come MEPs can't do the same? This is not about the smooth running of Parliament but about a handful of MEPs who think they are above the law", said Fiona Godfrey of the European Respiratory Society. "Their actions bring Parliament into disrepute and will only add to perceptions that Brussels is totally out of step with ordinary voters."

Taking on Europe's third leading cause of death

Brussels, 30 November 2006 Read the full press release
Agreement to include research funding for chronic lung diseases is hailed by the leading scientific society in respiratory medicine The European Respiratory Society (ERS), the leading international medical and scientific society in the field of respiratory medicine, today hailed new support for lung research.

The European Parliament vote on FP7 (the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities 2007- 13) has secured vital funding for research into chronic lung diseases. According to Professor William MacNee, President of the ERS, this represents "an important step forward, as the FP7 will offer valuable opportunities to consolidate Europe-wide expertise using multidisciplinary approaches to tackle chronic respiratory diseases".

World COPD Day 2006: EU must pay more attention to this under-funded killer

Brussels, November 15, 2006 Read the full press release 
European COPD patients and pneumologists mark World COPD Day and welcome the launch of a written declaration in the European Parliament calling upon the EU to pay more attention to this under-recognised and under-funded killer.

The European Respiratory Society (ERS), the European Lung Foundation (ELF) and the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Association (EFA) welcomed the launch today of a written declaration in the European Parliament on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. The written declaration was launched by Scottish MEP Catherine Stihler and calls upon the EU and Member States to pay more attention to the condition. COPD is currently the fourth biggest killer in the EU and is predicted to become the third biggest killer worldwide by 2020. Despite this, COPD continues to be under-diagnosed and under-funded at both national and European level.

Approximately 200,000-300,000 people die each year in Europe because of COPD. Among respiratory diseases, COPD is the leading cause of lost work days and it is estimated that in Europe productivity losses due to COPD amount to a total €28.5 billion annually.

Professor Bill McNee, President of the ERS said, "COPD is a serious condition which is simply not recognised for what it is by most national governments. Many people live with the disease for years before they are diagnosed and suffer a massive reduction in their quality of life. There is a very great need to get the message across to governments and research funders that COPD rates are increasing across Europe and bringing misery and economic hardship to millions of people. We welcome the declaration and very much appreciate the European Parliament's staunch support for more recognition and funding for respiratory disease over the last two years."

 ERS Members find out how you can help
 For more information on COPD

Lifting the smokescreen: 10 reasons for a smoke free Europe

Brussels, 21 March 2006

More than 79,000 adults die each year as a result of passive smoking in the 25 countries of the European Union, according to statistics published today by the Smokefree Partnership.

The new figures are contained in a report entitled "Lifting the smokescreen: 10 reasons for a smoke free Europe". It will be officially launched in the European Parliament by MEPs Liz Lynne (UK, Liberal Democrat) and Adamos Adamou (Cyprus, European United Left-Nordic Green Left).

The report also provides the evidence that measures to prevent passive smoking are feasible and popular.

Access the report in several European languages below

"Lifting the smokescreen" project wins prestigious award

13 July 2006

"Lifting the smokescreen" was presented with the Best Smokefree Research Policy Award 2006 at the Global Smokefree Partnership inaugural awards, during the 13th World Conference on Tobacco or Health. Richard Davidson of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Fiona Godfrey (EU Policy Advisor) representing the ERS accepted the award on behalf of the Partnership.

Other awards went to the English Coalition, who were honoured for the Best Smokefree Campaign, and US Surgeon General Richard Carmona presented an award to Jon Samet for his work as Editor in Chief of the recent Surgeon's General report on passive smoking. He also made a surprise award to Jon Samet of the Surgeon General's award for Public Health, the highest award in the US for services in the public health field. In addition, Irish Health Minister Sean Power presented an award to Uruguay for adopting smokefree legislation in that country in March this year. The award was accepted by the Uruguayan Health Minister on behalf of the President.

More than 79,000 adults die each year as a result of passive smoking in the 25 countries of the European Union, according to statistics published today by the Smokefree Partnership.

The new figures are contained in a report entitled "Lifting the smokescreen: 10 reasons for a smoke free Europe". It will be officially launched in the European Parliament by MEPs Liz Lynne (UK, Liberal Democrat) and Adamos Adamou (Cyprus, European United Left-Nordic Green Left).

The report also provides the evidence that measures to prevent passive smoking are feasible and popular.

Access the report in several European languages below

"Lifting the smokescreen" project wins prestigious award

13 July 2006

"Lifting the smokescreen" was presented with the Best Smokefree Research Policy Award 2006 at the Global Smokefree Partnership inaugural awards, during the 13th World Conference on Tobacco or Health. Richard Davidson of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Fiona Godfrey (EU Policy Advisor) representing the ERS accepted the award on behalf of the Partnership.

Other awards went to the English Coalition, who were honoured for the Best Smokefree Campaign, and US Surgeon General Richard Carmona presented an award to Jon Samet for his work as Editor in Chief of the recent Surgeon's General report on passive smoking. He also made a surprise award to Jon Samet of the Surgeon General's award for Public Health, the highest award in the US for services in the public health field. In addition, Irish Health Minister Sean Power presented an award to Uruguay for adopting smokefree legislation in that country in March this year. The award was accepted by the Uruguayan Health Minister on behalf of the President.

Press Materials


The report is published by the Smokefree Partnership, a new strategic, independent and flexible partnership between the European Respiratory Society, Cancer Research UK and the Institut National du Cancer, France. Support was also provided by the European Heart Network. The report aims to promote tobacco control advocacy and policy research at EU and national levels in collaboration with other EU health organisations and EU tobacco control networks.

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