Start your smoke-free future on World COPD Day

Smokers are being urged by NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group to get the help they need to quit on World COPD Day, Wednesday 15 November. 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) describes a group of serious lung conditions that make it difficult to empty air out of the lungs because airways have become narrow. Living with COPD can make it hard for people to do even simple, everyday tasks. About 1.2 million UK people are living with diagnosed COPD, which makes the condition the second most common lung disease in the UK, after asthma. Around 2% of the whole population – 4.5% of all people aged over 40 – live with diagnosed COPD, and the number is growing.

Smoking is the main cause of COPD. Smokers can often dismiss the early signs of COPD as a 'smoker's cough' but if they continue smoking and the condition worsens, it can greatly impact on their quality of life. Stopping smoking will reduce the risk of this and other diseases. Help and advice to stop smoking is available from 

In London more people are admitted to hospital for COPD than other regions with similar prevalence. According to the British Lung Foundation, the reasons for this are not clear, although pollution levels may play a part. 

The charity’s research reveals that residents in Tower Hamlets are twice more likely to be admitted to hospital with COPD than the average rates for the UK.

Sir Sam Everington, local GP and chair of Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Many of our residents have COPD and don’t even know it. They’re struggling with their symptoms and a lower quality of life. Their condition is progressing quickly because they’re not receiving treatment.

“On World COPD Day, let’s raise awareness of COPD, find the missing millions and help people get the treatment and support they deserve.”

To support World COPD day, residents can take the British Lung Foundation’s online breath test. It can help them decide if it’s time to see their GP. 

Exciting local events 

  1. In honour of World COPD Day, The Community Respiratory Team will be running drop in sessions at the Roman Road Idea Store on Tuesday 14 November (10am – 3pm). This will coincide with market day. The Team will be on hand to answer any questions and carry out a breathing test with you.
  2. There will also be a Big Breakfast event at the main atrium of the Royal London Hospital (Stepney Way entrance) on Tuesday 28 November (9am - 12 noon).
  3. A weekly Singing Group for people with breathing problems is also starting in November each Thursday, 1-2pm. This has proved very helpful as well as good fun in many other places in the UK. The Group will meet in the Seminar Room of ward 13F at the Royal London Hospital. Start date tbc.

World COPD day is organised by the British Lung Foundation.