Lung diseases kill one in 10 Europeans, with greatest risk in Britain

 

Lung diseases kill one in every 10 Europeans, new figures suggest, and the proportion of deaths caused by the diseases in the UK is the highest of any European nation.

A comprehensive study of mortality rates across the continent, carried out by the European Respiratory Society (ERS), concluded that respiratory diseases cost nearly a million lives and 400 billion euros every year.

Conditions including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia and tuberculosis will account for one in every five deaths worldwide by 2030, the World Health Organisation estimates.

The ERS said that the burden of the disease fell heaviest in Europe’s wealthier nations – strongly indicating that historically high smoking rates in better-off societies are taking their toll. It was estimated that at least a half of the entire socioeconomic cost of respiratory disease could be attributed to smoking, the ERS said.

Belgium and Denmark had the highest mortality rates from lung conditions, with 117 deaths per 100,000 members of the population in a year, followed by Ireland, with 114, and the UK, with 112. However, the UK and Ireland came bottom of the table for the proportion of total deaths caused by respiratory diseases.

The ERS said their figures were probably a significant underestimate, as reliable data on certain conditions in some countries was not available.

The British Lung Foundation said that, in the UK, respiratory diseases probably accounted for a quarter of all deaths and warned that funding for research and treatments for the conditions was woefully lacking.

“Although lung disease kills up to one in four people in the UK, it regrettably doesn’t receive the same level of priority when it comes to prevention and treatment,” said the BLF’s Professor Richard Hubbard. “It is telling that when NHS England created the new ‘Strategic Clinical Networks’ for improving health services last year, cancer, mental health, and cardiovascular disease were all included, but respiratory disease was not.

“Investment in lung cancer research totals around a third of that allocated to breast cancer, half that allocated bowel cancer and less than half that allocated to leukaemia, even though it currently kills more people per year than all three put together.”

While the number of smokers in high-death rate countries such as Denmark and the UK have fallen substantially since the 1970s, the long-term effects of historically high rates continue to manifest in cases of lung cancer and COPD today, the ERS said.  By contrast Finland, with its highly active programme targeting respiratory illness, has the lowest death rate from respiratory conditions – 54 per 100,000 people.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the smoking charity ASH said the ERS study was a “stark reminder of the shocking scale of harm caused by smoking”. 

“The UK still has one of the highest rates of death from respiratory disease in the world because of the legacy of the high rates of smoking in years gone by,” she said.

“It’s vitally important that countries implement the measures contained in the [World Health Organisation’s] Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and resist pressures from the tobacco industry to weaken or undermine this process.”

Professor Eugene Milne, director for adult health and wellbeing at Public Health England said: “We’re most concerned about smoking rates which amount for an enormous proportion of the burden of the disease, in particular for the high rates of lung cancer.

“At the moment we’re seeing a very encouraging decline in smoking rates. Since the smoke free legislation was introduced in 2007 we’ve seen a fall in asthma admissions, but evidence suggests that it could take several years for the decline to work through and show up in statistics for other forms of lung disease… We haven’t seen the last of the impact of old habits.”

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before