New York State Department of Health Recognizes National Healthy Lung Month

Department Encourages New Yorkers To Take Preventative Measures To Keep Their Lungs Healthy

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 24, 2023) - The New York State Department of Health recognizes National Healthy Lung Month, by increasing awareness and education about good lung health. In honor of National Respiratory Care Week, observed October 23 to 29, the Department also recognizes and celebrates respiratory care professionals and the contributions they have made to improving lung health.

"When we are healthy, we take for granted how perfectly our lungs allow us to enjoy each breath life has to offer," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "One way to protect our lungs is to get immunized against respiratory disease such as Flu, RSV and COVID. All of these vaccines are available now and can be given in one visit if appropriate."

The Department promotes several programs and initiatives that aim to improve the lung health of residents across the state.

Asthma Control: One very common, challenging, and chronic lung disease that many New Yorkers face is asthma. The Department, in collaboration with the American Lung Association, recently launched the New York State Children's Asthma Initiative. The initiative seeks to ensure that policies and practices are in place so that children with asthma receive appropriate care in multiple settings. A key component of the initiative is Project BREATHE NY, which provides training to health care teams and connects children and families to home-based services such as asthma self-management education and assistance with reducing asthma triggers, such as tobacco smoke, pests, and dust mites. The Children's Asthma Initiative also works with schools to adopt policies supportive of asthma control. These projects help New Yorkers with asthma achieve better health and improved quality of life.

Promoting Physical Activity: A powerful strategy to improve lung health is to be physically active. Physical activity requires the lungs to work harder to supply the oxygen that muscles need. When done regularly the lungs, and several other organs of the body are strengthened. The Department's Creating Healthy Schools and Communities provides funding to 25 regional grantees. The project is intended to increase opportunities for daily physical activity for youth and adults. Grantees work in early childcare and education settings, schools, worksites, and community settings to improve policies, practices, and environments for physical activity. Grantees also implement community planning and active transportation interventions in municipalities to increase safe and accessible physical activity.

Tobacco Prevention: Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Smoking cessation improves lung health. For help with quitting, including counseling and medication, New Yorkers are encouraged to talk to their healthcare providers. For information on how to quit smoking or vaping tobacco or nicotine, the New York State Smokers' Quitline provides free and confidential services that include information, tools, quit coaching, and support in both English and Spanish. Services are available by calling 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487), texting (716) 309-4688, or visiting, for information, to chat online with a Quit Coach, or to sign up for Learn2QuitNY, a six-week, step-by-step text messaging program to build the skills you need to quit any tobacco product.

Cancer Prevention and Early Detection: The Department is an active member of the New York State Cancer Consortium, a statewide network made up of more than 200 members from the public and private sectors whose missions are aligned with reducing risk factors related to cancer, addressing disparities in cancer incidence and mortality, and ultimately achieving the goals and objectives of the New York State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan. The Consortium Lung Cancer Action Team mobilizes multi-level resources to decrease lung cancer mortality by increasing lung cancer screening using guideline-driven, evidence-based strategies. Lung cancer screening is recommended for certain people at higher risk for lung cancer and may help to find lung cancer earlier when treatment may be more successful.

The Department encourages New Yorkers to follow these practices for good lung health:

  • Prevent respiratory illnesses by consistent hand washing, avoiding crowded places, and staying up to date on vaccinations.
  • Get vaccinated with flu and COVID shots.
  • Get the RSV vaccine if 60 years of age and older.
  • Engage in physical activity on a regular basis.
  • Not smoking or vaping.
  • Minimize exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants.
  • Visit doctors regularly for checkups, screenings, and vaccinations.
  • Follow Air Quality Alerts to know when outdoor air pollutants are expected to be unhealthy.
  • Reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. Stay out of rooms until the paint dries and new furniture and building materials become odor-free.

Asthma Information can be found here.

More information on the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Initiative can be found here.

More information The New York State Tobacco Control Program can be found here.

More information on The New York State Cancer Consortium can be found here.

More information on the New York State Children's Asthma Initiative can be found here.