Key points

  • Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are a huge health burden, responsible for 86% of deaths in Europe. Respiratory disease costs the EU more than €380 billion a year, directly and indirectly. Governments need to devote specific resources to these diseases, improve data collection and surveillance and work with patient groups, NGOs and other stakeholders to coordinate a national response.

  • Lack of surveillance data is a major hindrance to attempts to tackle the problem of respiratory disease in Europe: lack of awareness leads to a lack of policy interventions.

  • Tobacco is a major risk factor for most major NCDs. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control provides a robust basis for reducing tobacco use and its health consequences, but some countries have still not signed up and in others its implementation is inadequate.

  • Although most Europeans are aware that air pollution is a major respiratory health issue, European air quality standards fall short of the WHO recommended levels. This needs to change, and governments must make air quality an integral part of transport, industrial and energy policy.

See the entire Recommendations and policy Chapter