The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ is excited to announce that tomorrow on 1 September the first ever respiratory awareness month in New Zealand will be launched. Breathe Better September is a national movement that invites all Kiwis to show their support for better breathing and healthy lungs.

The campaign encourages Kiwis to make changes in their daily life to improve their respiratory health, and information will be shared throughout the month to support this. A huge amount of interest in the campaign has already been received from individuals and organisations around the country, and the Foundation is anticipating this to increase. 

Erin Simpson, the Foundation’s ambassador encourages everyone to get involved and show their support by signing the campaign’s photo petition. “It’s so easy, grab a piece of paper and a pen, write Breathe Better September and send in a photo holding it up!” Help increase awareness amongst family and friends by sharing the photo on social media along with #breathebetterseptember as the hashtag.  

Organisations such as The Langham Hotel, Auckland are also jumping on board the campaign. “We are organising activities that will involve both staff and guests at the hotel to raise awareness and funds. We'll be taking photos using a Breathe Better September sign, sharing it on social media, and giving out a prize for the most creative photo!” Says Krystal Ikitoelagi from the Langham Hotel.  

Community events will also take place, such as educational sessions and fundraising run by Breathe Hawke’s Bay. “This week our respiratory nurse educator will educate 18 kindergartens. That’s hundreds of kids that will benefit from their teachers knowing what to do in an asthma emergency, and how they can support students with asthma day-to-day,” says Sally Crown from Breathe Hawke’s Bay.  

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of respiratory disease in the world. However, it is not highly profiled and many people don’t realise the extent of the problem. Over 700,000 Kiwis have a respiratory condition, it’s the third leading cause of death and costs the country $5.5 billion each year. 

Respiratory disease includes asthma, bronchiectasis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and obstructive sleep apnoea.