Public Health England launches campaign to combat smoking-related lung diseases

Public Health England highlights devastating effects of chronic smoking-related lung diseases

A public health campaign is highlighting smoking as the biggest preventable risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and urges people to quit in the new year.

Dr. Nicholas Hopkinson

Pictured in the photo: Dr. Nicholas Hopkinson, clinical lead for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (left), and Olympian Iwan Thomas (right) joins smokers, (left to right) Toby Jacquest from London, Josh Silverstone from Manchester, Nicola Candy from Bristol and Joanne Nevin from Newcastle, at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London to learn more about COPD, as part of Public Health England's Smokefree campaign..

More than one million people in England have chronic smoking-related lung diseases and 25,000 die each year from COPD. This figure is twice the European average, according to Public Health England (PHE).

People who smoke can often dismiss early signs of COPD as a 'smoker's cough'.

PHE has released a short film featuring former Olympic athlete Iwan Thomas, whose mother was recently diagnosed with COPD. Mr Thomas, along with four people who smoke, takes part in an exercise to experience what living with severe COPD is like, and urges people to stop smoking.

'I have never fully understood COPD or the everyday consequences, but when the simple things like climbing the stairs, making a cup of tea or walking to the bus stop become impossible, it is serious. After years of smoking, it’s great that my mum is making 2016 the year she quits and I would urge anyone who smokes to do the same,' said Mr Thomas.

Chief medical officer, professor Dame Sally Davies said: 'COPD can be a severely debilitating disease, dramatically affecting people’s breathing and leading to years of suffering. The single best thing a smoker can do to reduce their chances of developing this devastating disease, and prolong their life, is to stop smoking.'

Last month, a report by the national chronic obstructive pulmonary disease audit programme, which is led by the Royal College of Physicians, revealed concern about variability in specialist health services. The Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists called for additional investment to ensure all areas have good access to pulmonary rehabilitation.

People who smoke and want to quit are being encouraged to search for ‘Smokefree’ online or visit for free materials and support.


This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.