New data reveals COPD stigma in Yorkshire and Humber area

A new survey circulated amongst people living in the Yorkshire and the Humber area with a respiratory condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has revealed that more than one in three (35%) have felt hesitant to ask for more information about their condition because they were worried about being judged or discriminated against. To help the COPD community to easily access information about the condition in a ‘safe place’, Chiesi UK, in association with Asthma + Lung UK, is bringing the You, Me & COPD Roadshow to Asda Hessle Superstore, Hessle Road, Hull, on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 October.

The survey, conducted by Opinion Health on behalf of Chiesi UK, gained insights from COPD patients in the Yorkshire and the Humber, North West, London and East Midlands. The data in the Yorkshire and the Humber area (including Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Hull, and York) also revealed that:

  • 45% of people living with COPD have been judged or misunderstood because they smoke or used to smoke and 23% have even avoided telling people they have the condition
  • 25% of people living with COPD have experienced feeling isolated from family or friends since being diagnosed
  • Only 25% felt that carers and/or loved ones are well informed about COPD and 48% that they themselves had received enough information about the condition at diagnosis – the lowest number compared to other regions
  • Out of all four regions surveyed, people with COPD in the Yorkshire and Humberside area were least likely to have received advice on speaking to friends and family about their condition (in fact only 20% did) or have received information on disease process and overall prognosis/likely or expected development of disease (only 38% received this).1

The You, Me & COPD roadshow has already visited Manchester and will continue onto further locations across England throughout 2023. The You, Me & COPD hub at Asda Hessle Superstore, Hessle Road, Hull, has been co-created by people living with COPD, carers and healthcare professionals. It will provide a unique space for people living with COPD and their friends and family members to access information, support and meet those in similar situations.

“While we are saddened to see that stigma and discrimination around COPD prevail, we are pleased to be taking steps to combat this through the launch of the You, Me & COPD roadshow,” said Tom Delahoyde, Managing Director, Chiesi UK. “We have created the roadshow in association with Asthma + Lung UK to help ensure COPD patients and their loved ones have all the support they need to live well with their condition. Interaction with like-minded individuals is crucial when living with a chronic health condition, and we hope this activity will help to challenge misconceptions about COPD and help patients feel seen, heard and supported.”

Over one million people in the UK have been diagnosed with COPD, a long-term, incurable condition that means air cannot get out of the lungs easily. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing, and can vary in severity.2 In addition, 55% of people with COPD in the Yorkshire and Humber area feel unable to take part in social activities.1

“We recommend anyone who can, living in the Hull area and affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), should visit the You, Me and COPD Roadshow. The COPD hub, which will be based in Hull, will have a healthcare professional from the charity and you can pop by to have a conversation with them about COPD, getting tips and advice on how best to manage your condition,” Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK + Lung UK, said. 

“I was dismayed to see the results of the Chiesi survey finding that so many people living with COPD feel hesitant to ask for more information about their condition, being worried they’ll be judged or discriminated against. This simply must change and as healthcare professionals we can be part of the solution, reaching out to people in community settings and facilitating conversations about this disease. Helping and supporting people to feel able to talk about COPD and gain more information, as well as being able to speak to their loved ones about their disease, is vital. The charity is proud to be a part of this important initiative.” 

Anyone affected by COPD can visit the You, Me & COPD roadshow at Asda Hessle Superstore, Hessle Road, Hull on the Friday 13 and Saturday 14 October. The roadshow is then due to travel to Leicester and London in the coming months. For more information about the roadshow, please visit

About the survey

This survey was carried out by the research company, Opinion Health, funded by the pharmaceutical company, Chiesi UK. In August 2023, Opinion Health distributed the survey to 200 UK adult patients with COPD (100=male, 100=female; age groups; 18-24 yrs=4, 25-34 yrs=17, 35-44 yrs=18, 45-54=33, 55-64 yrs=76, 65-74 yrs=38, 75+ yrs=14), who completed the questionnaire online. Patients from four different regions that are considered to have a high prevalence of COPD were surveyed: North West (n=50), Yorkshire and the Humber (n=40), East Midlands (n=40) and London (n=70).

About chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is the collective term for conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which prevent people from breathing properly because the flow of air into the lungs is obstructed. In the UK alone, it is likely over a million people live with COPD and it claims more than 30,000 lives a year. The main cause is smoking, but it can also be caused by past exposure to fumes, chemicals and dust at work. COPD is incurable because it causes permanent lung damage, but treatment can help make breathing easier.

About Chiesi Group   

Chiesi is an international, research-focused biopharmaceuticals group that develops and markets innovative therapeutic solutions in respiratory health, rare diseases, and specialty care. The company’s mission is to improve people’s quality of life and act responsibly towards both the community and the environment.

By changing its legal status to a Benefit Corporation in Italy, the US, and France, Chiesi’s commitment to create shared value for society as a whole is legally binding and central to company-wide decision-making. As a certified B Corp since 2019, we’re part of a global community of businesses that meet high standards of social and environmental impact. The company aims to reach Net-Zero greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 2035.

With over 85 years of experience, Chiesi is headquartered in Parma (Italy), operates in 31 countries, and counts more than 6,500 employees. The Group’s research and development centre in Parma works alongside 6 other important R&D hubs in France, the US, Canada, China, the UK, and Sweden. For more information, please visit