Ontario Lung Association Recommends Solutions that Could Save Millions of Lives and Billions of Dollars with an Ontario Lung Health Action Plan
TORONTO, March 19, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Lung Association applauds The Conference Board of Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the National Lung Health Framework for continuing to keep lung health a priority with the release of the report, Cost Risk Analysis for Chronic Lung Disease in Canada, which demonstrates the growing impact of lung disease on Canadians and the economy, now and in the future.
The Ontario Lung Association also undertook similar research with data specific to Ontario. Comparable to the Canadian data, the Ontario report presents the overwhelming life and economic burden that lung disease accounts for in the province today, while offering a daunting 30-year forecast if immediate action isn't taken. Called, Your Lungs, Your Life: Insights and Solutions into Lung Health in Ontario, the report not only examines the same three disease areas: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and lung cancer, but also recommends specific interventions that could be easily implemented, saving thousands of lives and billions of tax payer dollars.
"Lung disease touches all of us in the province and across the country - if not directly, then indirectly through economic implications," says George Habib, president and CEO of the Ontario Lung Association. "Aside from the human toll, modest estimates indicate the direct and in-direct cost of lung disease in 2011 in Ontario is more than $4 billion. The good news is we know how to change the trajectory."
The Ontario Lung Association report acknowledges the effective diagnostic and patient care services that already exist in the province, while highlighting the fact that many are not widely available to meet the growing demand. The data show that by expanding specific evidence-based scenarios, under a comprehensive Ontario Lung Health Action Plan, the projected costs associated with the continuing upward trend in lung disease could be diminished. For instance:
- The Conference Board report predicts that a reduction in smoking rates and exposure to second-hand smoke will reduce the prevalence and cost of lung disease. The Ontario Lung Association research agrees with this prediction and further suggests that if all Ontarians had access to behavioural counseling and medications that would help them quit smoking, in 30 years we would realize $36.3 billion in gross savings
- The Conference Board report also highlights the tremendous health and economic burden caused by COPD. The Ontario Lung Association research further demonstrates that if specific, practical interventions were widely available, including early diagnosis, proven primary care treatment models and increased access to pulmonary rehabilitation services that billions of dollars could be saved.
More than 40 partners, including healthcare providers, professional associations and patient advocates, have been involved in the Ontario research and join the Ontario Lung Association in calling upon the Government of Ontario to make lung health a priority, and establish a comprehensive Ontario Lung Health Action Plan. If we act now, we can improve the efficiency and quality of the healthcare system while saving lives and dollars.
Your Lungs Your Life: Insights and Solutions to Lung Health in Ontario and full technical research report are available at www.on.lung.ca or by calling the organization's Lung Information Line at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864).
About the Ontario Lung Association
The Lung Association is a registered charity that provides information and funding for research to improve lung health. We focus on the prevention and control of asthma, chronic lung disease, tobacco control as well as healthy air and the effects of pollution on lung health. To pledge your support for an Ontario Lung Health Action Plan or for information on lung health, call 1-888-344-LUNG (5864) or visit www.on.lung.ca/actionplan.
For further information:
Ontario Lung Association
416-864-9911 ext. 283 / Cell 416-275-6844
Ontario Lung Association
416-864-9911 ext. 267