It’s easy to breathe in Finland

Everyone in Finland is entitled to a smoke-free living environment. Housing companies are still struggling to ban smoking on balconies. New legislation is necessary to make it easier to enforce balcony smoking bans. The smoking ban could also be extended to cover other spaces, such as public playgrounds and beaches. We are in active dialogue with state officials regarding the amendments to the Tobacco Act. We are committed to the Tobacco-free Finland 2030 programme.

We cooperate with organisations to promote a smoke-free society:

  • NCD Alliance Finland
  • Nicotine-free Finland network for organisations (JÄNIS)
  • Tobacco-free Finland 2030, steering group and working committee

It is possible to prevent and reduce the risks caused to respiratory health by global warming. What we need are legislative decisions, the political will to promote respiratory health, and informed citizens who will do their part. Read more: Weather and climate risks.

Fine particulate matter emissions must be reduced. Ensuring clean domestic wood burning is an effective way to reduce these emissions. We need to increase public awareness of the issue.

Streets and roads should be cleaned of dust without delay and at the right time. Every spring, we and the local respiratory health associations raise discussion on the health effects of street dust. We are appealing to local governments to clean the streets promptly and efficiently with the help of new equipment.

Finland needs a new respiratory health programme

National respiratory disease treatment programmes have been success stories. The treatment programmes have successfully combined healthcare staff training, public outreach, and cooperation between organisations and healthcare providers. The treatment programmes have clearly improved respiratory diagnostics and treatment, while also creating savings.

There is a great need for a new national respiratory health programme. The society needs to make efforts to promote the prevention and early detection of respiratory diseases. People who suffer from respiratory diseases need better follow-up care, medication use monitoring, exercise advice, and support for quitting smoking. There are significant regional differences in the quality and availability of treatment.

The draft of the new respiratory health programme will cover all respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, which is becoming more and more common in non-smokers as well. The treatment of respiratory diseases is expensive, and certain diseases such as asthma and COPD are common. Lung cancer, asthma, COPD, and tuberculosis all have similar initial symptoms: cough and shortness of breath. Poor indoor air quality can also cause similar symptoms. In order to detect or rule out any serious diseases, it is important to ensure that primary healthcare services are able to carry out basic tests. This means that better expertise and support should be ensured for primary healthcare services.

Various infectious diseases, such as COVID-19 (the coronavirus), SARS, and influenza, are also lung diseases, which are treated by respiratory clinics.  

Filha, an expert organisation in tuberculosis and lung diseases, has coordinated several national respiratory health programmes and provided training for healthcare professionals. The Organisation for Respiratory Health has been in charge of public outreach and patient communication in these programmes. Together, Filha and the Organisation for Respiratory Health in Finland are advocating to launch a new respiratory health programme.

National respiratory health programmes:

  • 2018–2028 indoor air quality programme
  • 2008–2018 allergy programme
  • 2002–2012 sleep apnoea programme  
  • 1998–2007 COPD programme  
  • 1994–2004 asthma programme