American Lung Association History

The American Lung Association was formed in 1904 by Edward Livingston Trudeau and Doctor Lawrence Flick. It was called the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis at that time.

Prior to this Dr. Lawrence Flick had founded the Pennsylvania Society for the prevention of TB which was the first society that worked towards the prevention of tuberculosis. The National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis was renamed the National Tuberculosis Association in 1918 and it was rechristened National Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association in 1968. The current name was adopted in 1973.

Some of the popular taglines that the association has adopted include “it's a matter of life and death”, “when you can't breathe, nothing else matters” and “fighting for air”. The first 50 years for the organization were tough but the organization forged ahead in getting funding for the projects and continuing the fight against tuberculosis to prevent and cure it. By 1954, tuberculosis was almost non-existent in the United States.

The Christmas Seals Campaign was launched in 1907 and ever since it has been a symbol of the fight that the patient's put up to combat the illness. The first campaign was created by Emily Bissel to raise money for a sanitarium. The fight against the disease continued and since tuberculosis was mostly under control, the association expanded its horizons to include all kinds of lung diseases. This was when they took over the name “American Lung Association” in 1973.

The association stands for the right to freedom of fresh and healthy air for all. It was one of the first organizations to take over the fight against smoking, with the belief that the nation's greatest health risk that was preventable. They also fought pollution in order to fight lung disease among urban residents. The Clean Air Act that resulted in the ban on smoking on airplanes and the bill that allowed the US Food and Drug Association to regulate tobacco products were some of the victories that can be associated with the association. Some of the other diseases that the American Lung Association is fighting today include lung conditions that range from asthma to lung cancer.


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