About the White Book

Published by the European Respiratory Society, the European Lung White Book draws on the latest data from the World Health Organization and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and input from experts across the continent to present a rigorous examination of lung health and disease in Europe as it stands and an informed analysis of future trends. Covering risk factors, the major diseases, the development of the various fields of respiratory medicine and training and the growth of patient support organisations, the book lays out a series of policy recommendations to ensure a brighter, better future for respiratory health. It is a vital data source and advocacy tool for health professionals, policymakers, patient advocates and the media.

The European Respiratory Society – the voice of respiratory health in Europe

The mission of the European Respiratory Society is to alleviate suffering from respiratory disease and promote lung health through research, sharing of knowledge, and medical and public education. The ERS, founded in 1990, is now a 10 000-member nonprofit professional society, devoted to respiratory medicine and science, comprising 11 scientific assemblies covering the full breadth of the field. Open to clinicians, scientists and other health professionals, the society draws its members from every continent and plays a leading role in improving standards of respiratory care in Europe and beyond. Its activities centre around four pillars: Congress, education, publications and advocacy.

The annual ERS Congress is the central event of the society’s year. It attracts about 20 000 delegates, making it the largest annual scientific gathering in respiratory medicine worldwide and the primary forum in Europe for presenting research, exchanging knowledge and forging collaborations. While speakers include the world’s leading experts in the field, the Congress also provides opportunities for young researchers to present their work to a wide audience, perhaps for the very first time. Outside the main Congress, the society organises an annual Lung Science Conference and a biennial Sleep and Breathing Conference (jointly with the European Sleep Research Society).

The ERS School runs educational events throughout the year, providing a range of hands-on and online courses and CME-accredited events and material. At the annual ERS Congress, the School provides a world-leading slate of postgraduate courses, seminars and ‘meet the expert’ sessions covering the whole spectrum of respiratory medicine. Resources from these events and many other ERS activities are collected on the ERS’s Learning Resources website, a vast treasure chest of information. The School is also responsible for the HERMES initiatives, which aim to harmonise respiratory medical education in Europe. These ongoing projects cover seven major areas in respiratory medicine, and have led to the creation of core curricula and syllabi, several best-selling Handbooks and the highly regarded European examinations and diplomas in adult and paediatric respiratory medicine.

ERS publications are led by the flagship European Respiratory Journal, which publishes the best in original research and scientific reviews each month, reaching almost 1 million online readers each year. There are also two quarterly journals, both freely available online: the European Respiratory Review publishes state-of-the-art reviews and summaries of important recent findings, while Breathe is aimed at clinicians, allied health professionals and those in training, presenting practical, educational content and reaching over 16 000 print subscribers. The European Respiratory Monograph publishes four books each year, each one taking an in-depth look at an area of respiratory medicine.

In addition to its head office in Lausanne (Switzerland) and publications office in Sheffield (UK), the ERS maintains an office in Brussels (Belgium), at the heart of the European Union (EU), focusing on advocacy for better respiratory health. Current activities include lobbying for stronger tobacco regulation and ensuring that respiratory medicine is well represented in new EU research funding programmes.

The above is just a brief overview of the activities of the ERS – more in-depth information can be found at www.ersnet.org. The society also produces clinical guidelines, funds fellowships for researchers and produces strategic reports such as the European Respiratory Roadmap.

Working in concert with national respiratory societies through the Forum of European Respiratory Societies (FERS) and sister societies worldwide through the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), the ERS is devoted to ensuring that ‘every breath counts’.

The European Lung Foundation

The European Lung Foundation (ELF) was set up by the European Respiratory Society (ERS). It works alongside the ERS to bring together people living with respiratory conditions, the public and respiratory professionals to positively influence respiratory medicine. ELF’s key role can be seen as being the public voice of the ERS and the public’s voice in the ERS.

The heart of ELF’s work is to bring the latest information and advances in respiratory medicine to people outside the respiratory profession, making it comprehensible to a non-specialist audience and in a range of European languages. The majority of this information is disseminated widely through the ELF website – www.europeanlung.org. The site contains a wealth of up-to-date content on respiratory health and disease, and provides downloadable factsheets and information, developed with patients and ERS experts.

ELF is also responsible for communicating the ERS’s scientific activities to the public and the press, preparing lay summaries and press releases to accompany major publications from the European Respiratory Journal and key abstracts from the ERS Congress. 

For over 10 years, ELF has run public awareness campaigns and events centred around lung function testing. Initially, these were ‘spirometry screening events’, set up in major European cities to coincide with the annual ERS Congress. Working with international respiratory societies, ELF now coordinates a biennial global World Spirometry Day campaign, which in 2012 attracted participation from more than 65 countries. 

ELF is working hard to ensure that people with lung diseases and the general public have the opportunity to influence respiratory research and guidelines at the European level. It has set up a network and advisory group of patient organisations across Europe, covering all respiratory conditions. ELF ensures patient involvement in the creation of clinical guidelines, through patient-oriented literature searches, online questionnaires, focus groups and patient versions of the final guideline. ELF invites patients to the ERS Congress, to meet clinicians and ERS leaders and make their concerns and opinions heard. Chapter 40 in this book covers this topic and ELF’s role in detail.

The ELF website has been re-launched to coincide with the publication of this book to ensure that the key messages from this important document are accessible to all. It has also produced a shorter, more concise version of the book, which uses infographics to demonstrate the key statistics found in the main publication.

Visit the ELF website to download a free copy of the ELF publication and view the information online in the lung diseases and risk factor section of the website.

You can also download a free slideset of the infographics for your own use and to help you share the key messages of the publication..