Lung diseases claim lives of one in five Britons

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Lung diseases claim the lives of one in five people in the UK each year, figures published today reveal.

The British Lung Foundation has added together death rates for every respiratory condition, including asthma, pneumonia, tuberculosis, emphysema, bronchitis and lung cancer, and the figures show the diseases cause 20.7 per cent of deaths.

Lung cancer kills 40,000 people each year and accounted for 5.8 per cent of all deaths in the UK.

Lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia and flu, kill 50,000 people and are one of the most common reasons for lost work days. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - a combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema - causes 30,000 deaths.

The figures were released to mark Breathe Easy Week, which the charity hopes will raise awareness of lung disease.