COPD – The unknown killer

If you said COPD to most people they wouldn’t know what you were talking about. But the sad fact is that COPD is something which, by 2030, will be the third biggest killer worldwide. COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, is the umbrella term to describe chronic lung diseases, including the more familiar terms ‘chronic bronchitis’ and ’emphysema’, which are now diagnosed as COPD.

We can provide estimates of the huge unnecessary burden COPD places on the NHS and other health systems across the EU – around £8 billion a year, but the human suffering and pain it causes cannot be quantified.

The most common cause of COPD is tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke. I have been getting involved with the newly formed European COPD Coalition (ECC) as we look towards revising the Tobacco Products Directive next year. The ECC is all about bringing people together to fight this devastating disease, including physicians, patient organizations, industry and politicians, and as an MEP I am hoping to make a real difference in terms of European legislation. We need to make sure that we have tough new measures like pictorial health warnings, standardised cigarette packs and restrictions on additives which will make smoking less appealing to young people.

Below is the video I filmed in support of the European COPD Coalition and World COPD Day.

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