Lung Fact Sheet

Lung Fact Sheet

One in five Canadians - six million adults and children - has a respiratory problem.

Every 15 minutes in Canada, someone dies from lung disease. Approximately 38,000 Canadians will die from lung disease this year.

Lung disease is the third leading cause of death among Canadians. In 2002, 17,400 Canadians will die from lung cancer, the number one leading cause of cancer death.

Cigarette smoking is the single most important cause of preventable illness and premature death in Canada. Reducing tobacco usage among youth is the best hope for long-term reduction in lung cancer.

One Canadian dies due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) every hour, that's 24 people per day or one-third of those who die from lung disease in this country.

Between 80 and 90 percent of people who develop Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease do so because they have or do smoke. Giving up smoking, while difficult is the most effective first step to prevent the progression of COPD.

Almost 750,000 Canadians are affected by COPD. The two most commonly known diseases of COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Once diagnosed, there is no cure for COPD.

Over two million Canadians suffer from asthma.

Over 450 Canadians will die from asthma this year. With education and the right plan to manage asthma, most of these deaths are preventable.

Asthma is the leading cause of hospital admissions among children and one of the leading causes of school absence.

Lung cancer trends follow those of smoking prevalence, with a lag of about 20 years.

Second-hand smoke is a major source of lung disease.

By 2020, the burden of disease attributable to tobacco is expected to outweigh that caused by any single disease. From its 1990 level of 2.6 per cent of all disease burden worldwide, tobacco is expected to increase its share to just under 9 per cent of the total burden in 2020.

The five-year survival rate of a patient with lung cancer is 15 per cent.

During their lifetime, 1 in 21 women will develop lung cancer. Among men, 1 in 11 will develop lung cancer.

45,000 Canadians die each year from tobacco-related illnesses.

Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances in the world. Eight of ten people who start smoking become addicted.

25 per cent of Canada's youth between the ages of 15 and 19 smoke.

Second-hand smoke is a major source of lung disease. It causes and aggravates asthma, tonsillitis, bronchitis and middle-ear infections in children. Exposure to Second-hand smoke also greatly increases the risk of death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome among infants.

Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke increases the incidence of lung cancer among non-smokers by about 30 per cent.

While adult smoking rates have declined, lung cancer rates among those who have smoked for many years is on the incline. This year, more women will die from lung cancer than from breast cancer.

As the baby boomers age, chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis are on the increase.

  1. National Cancer Institute of Canada: Canadian Cancer Statistics 1999, Toronto, Canada, 1999.
  2. The Global Burden of Disease: A Comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability form diseases, injuries, and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Edited by Christopher J.L. Murray, Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA and Alan D. Lopez, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
  3. National Cancer Institute of Canada: Canadian Cancer Statistics 1999, Toronto, Canada, 1999.

Page Last Updated: 21/02/2017