The mission of the American Lung Association® is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. The American Lung Association® is the oldest voluntary health organization in the United States, with a National Office and constituent and affiliate associations around the country. Founded in 1904 to fight tuberculosis, the American Lung Association® today fights lung disease in all its forms, with special emphasis on asthma, tobacco control and environmental health. The American Lung Association® is funded by contributions from the public, along with gifts and grants from corporations, foundations and government agencies. The American Lung Association® achieves its many successes through the work of thousands of committed volunteers and staff.
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The American Lung Association® has many programs and strategies for fighting lung disease. Among these are:
Asthma. Open Airways For Schools is the American Lung Association's elementary-school education program for children with asthma. Open Airways teaches children with asthma to understand and manage their illness so they can lead more normal lives. A key part of the program is American Lung Association's facilitation of asthma-care partnerships involving school nurses and educational staff as well as physicians, families and Lung Association volunteers.
Tobacco control. The American Lung Association® offers a variety of smoking control and prevention programs targeted to specific groups-some aimed at adults, others intended for school use, and still others designed to build bridges between the home and school and involve community leaders along with parents and educators.
Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU), is an important part of the American Lung Association® drive to eliminate tobacco use among youth. TATU is a peer-teaching tobacco control program aimed at deterring youngsters from taking up smoking. We also have a smoking cessation program for teens, called Not On Tobacco, or N-O-T.
For people who already smoke, the American Lung Association® offers its Freedom From Smoking® program, considered the "gold standard" of group-setting, peer-support smoking cessation programs.
Environmental health. Lung disease can be caused or aggravated by air pollution, both indoors and out. The American Lung Association is active in the pollution control arena and has become the leading public advocate for clean air, as well as the chief source of information and public education on the health hazards of air pollution. The Lung Association has published a number of special reports on air pollution, the most popular being the American Lung Association State of the Air report.
Research and professional education. the American Lung Association funds a broad program of grants and awards designed to further both basic and applied research in lung function and lung disease. This funding has led to such major breakthroughs as the use of lifesaving surfactant therapy for thousands of premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).
Advocacy programs. The American Lung Association's advocacy programs seek to influence the development and enforcement of laws and regulations related to lung health at the national, state and local levels, providing authoritative information to policymakers. The Lung Association played a major role, for example, in the passage of the landmark federal Clean Air Act, as well as the law prohibiting smoking on domestic passenger airline flights. And as a result of an American Lung Association lawsuit filed in 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency established revised, stricter air quality standards for smog and soot in July 1997. Children with asthma are among the millions of Americans who will benefit from the lower levels of air pollution these new standards are expected to bring. ALA also has been a leader in advocating for tobacco control legislation that will adequately protect our children's health.
The American Lung Association also has been instrumental in persuading the Congress to increase federal funding for lung-related biomedical research, as well as domestic health programs such as tuberculosis control activities.
Multicultural programs. The population demographics of the United States reflect significant increases in the numbers and percentages of what we currently describe as "minority groups." In many instances, these populations suffer disproportionately from lung diseases. The American Lung Association, through its policies and mission-driven activities, is moving to address these changes. Program partnerships with historically black colleges and universities and with Hispanic-serving institutions represent one example of how the Lung Association is utilizing diversity outreach strategies as a tool in the fight against lung disease.
Communications programs. The American Lung Association informs and educates the public about the impact and prevention of lung disease in a variety of ways. This information is disseminated through many channels, including this web site, public service announcements, news releases and conferences, and spokespersons who can address lung disease issues via print, broadcast and electronic media.
To reach your local American Lung Association, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872).