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Nation's Leading Experts Release Policy Agenda to Help People with Asthma Breathe Easier


American Lung Association

Press Release


Nearly 25 million Americans have asthma, including 5.5 million children. To help people living with asthma and save lives, the American Lung Association and other leading asthma experts with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s National Center for Environmental Health, will release the National Asthma Public Policy Agenda on June 1.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that makes it harder to move air in and out of your lungs. It causes millions of lost school and work days every year and is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children.


"The burden of asthma in the United States is complex, multi-factorial, unequal and serious. Efforts to address asthma must be equally significant and must look at the underlying systemic causes of both the disease and the barriers to controlling it," said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO for the American Lung Association. "This document establishes a blueprint for national asthma policy on which lawmakers, regulators and advocates must act. To save lives, we all need to come together to advance these important policy recommendations."

The National Public Policy Agenda has already made a difference for people living with asthma. Since the agenda was first developed in 2009, there have been several notable accomplishments, including the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the adoption of stricter national air standards for particle pollution in 2012 and ozone in 2015, and the 2018 implementation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's smokefree public housing policy.


"The impact that asthma has on the quality of life, health and opportunity for families across this country is enormous. The National Asthma Public Policy Agenda, led by the American Lung Association and its partners is comprehensive, achievable and urgently needed. Adoption of this plan goes to the heart of addressing the social determinants of health, opportunity and equity – and will create far better outcomes not only for healthcare but the environment, education, work attendance and healthier housing. We strongly endorse this Agenda and urge adoption at every level of government and public policy," said Ruth Ann Norton, President and CEO, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative.


"The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) was pleased to contribute to the update of this national policy agenda. We are hopeful that this agenda, which echoes many of the policy recommendations in our Asthma Disparities in America report, will save lives, improve health outcomes, and reduce the exorbitant costs of asthma (last estimated at $82 billion/year)," said Kenneth Mendez, AAFA's President and CEO. "Over 4,100 people die each year from asthma. Black Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma than white Americans and five times more likely to be treated for asthma in hospital emergency rooms. We must act now to support the recommendations contained in this agenda to fix the glaring disparities that persist in asthma mortality and morbidity in the United States."


"Public policy is essential to ensure the right treatment gets to the right patient at the right time with the fewest barriers. Allergy & Asthma Network is excited to work with our advocacy community partners to advance these policy priorities and ensuring they are resourced appropriately," said Tonya A. Winders, President and CEO of the Allergy & Asthma Network.

The National Asthma Public Policy Agenda consists of 22 public policy recommendations in six categories: Public Health Infrastructure and Surveillance; Outdoor Air; Healthcare Systems and Financing; Homes; Schools; and Workplaces. The agenda was developed by a broad, multi-disciplinary group of asthma specialists, medical professionals, and public health and policy experts.


On June 1 at 2 p.m. Central Time, the Lung Association will host a webinar for partner organizations to learn about the recommended policies and strategies from the National Asthma Public Policy Agenda. Registration for the webinar is available here.

The American Lung Association encourages asthma-focused organizations and stakeholders to download the National Asthma Public Policy Agenda, which will be available at Lung.org/asthma-policy-agenda June 1, to begin advancing these policies at the local, state and federal levels.



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