Lung-related illness accounts for one-third of all sick leave

The impact lung disease has on productivity and the public purse can no
longer be ignored

Lung disease accounts for the loss of 25million working days in the UK every
year, according to a study by the British Lung Foundation.

The survey of 1,200 working people who were away from work during 2000,
showed that a third of all time off was caused by lung-related illness.

More than 67 per cent of those polled reported lung-related symptoms and the
average number of days taken off was 13.5.

A total of 33 per cent of those polled said they had taken time off because
of lung and chest-related illnesses.

Coughing was the most widely suffered condition, while 25 per cent had taken
time off because they were suffering from influenza, with 15 per cent having
more than two days off.

Caring for family members accounted for 7 per cent of working days lost – 35
per cent of which were caused by lung disease.

Among those who had taken time off, women took more time off, on average,
than men, with 16 days off compared with 12.5.

Workers in the South West took the least time off, on average 8.5 days
compared with more than 19 days in Northern Ireland.

Around 11 per cent of 25-to-34-year-olds took time off, compared with 19 per
cent of 55-to-64-year-olds.

Public and service sector workers took more time off than their counterparts
in the manual and construction sectors. Nurses took the least time off.

British Lung Foundation chief executive, Dame Helena Shovelton, said:
"The Government cannot afford to ignore the impact that lung disease has
on productivity and on the public purse.

Meanwhile, Government statistics have shown that 104,800 people in England
set a date to quit smoking through Department of Health smoking cessation
services between April and September last year.

After four weeks, 53,500 had successfully quit, with 51 per cent setting a
quit date.

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