Proclamation 3843—National Jewish Hospital Save Your Breath Month
By the President of the United States of America
Most of us never think about how we breathe. Those who have never fought for air take breathing for granted. Yet increasing numbers of Americans every year face the prospect of a chronic chest or lung disease that can turn this normally easy act into a struggle for life.
An estimated 10 million Americans are afflicted by emphysema, asthma, and other crippling respiratory ailments. These chronic diseases combine to rank tenth on the list of the Nation's killers. Almost a third of the deaths that occur among our infants under one year old are caused by a respiratory disease—often within the first 28 days of life.
Twenty years ago, 2,300 people died in one year from emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In 1965, the number was more than ten times as high; unless this rate is checked, it is estimated that the number this year will exceed 40,000.
Emphysema attacks its victims in the prime of life and removes experienced and productive workers from the Nation's labor force. In a year, as many as 19,000 new emphysema victims are so badly disabled as to become eligible for disability insurance benefits under our Social Security programs—$90 million in disability benefits are paid annually to those who have been afflicted by this disease.
More than 5 million Americans are suffering from asthma. It kills several thousands of us every year.
The National Jewish Hospital in Denver, Colorado, has led the Nation in the care and treatment of those afflicted by chronic respiratory diseases. It has helped focus our attention on the need for research and specialized facilities for those who suffer from these afflictions.
The need for research is urgent. Our United States Public Health Service is working diligently to solve some of the tragic riddles of chest and lung disease. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is a leader in this research. Many private facilities are deeply involved in this work with the help of public and private grants.
The need for more treatment and rehabilitation facilities also is urgent. The National Center for Chronic Disease Control, for instance, is developing treatment methods capable of restoring a considerable measure of self-sufficiency to those who have been rendered nearly helpless because of shortness of breath brought on by severely advanced emphysema. These rehabilitation techniques are in need of nationwide application.
In order to emphasize the major public health problem presented by chronic respiratory diseases, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved April 5, 1968, has requested the President to issue a proclamation designating April 1968 as National Jewish Hospital Save Your Breath Month.
Now, Therefore, I, Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate the month of April 1968 as National Jewish Hospital Save Your Breath Month, and I urge the people of the United States to learn the danger signs of chronic respiratory diseases, to seek prompt medical help, and to observe appropriate medical safeguards for their respiratory health.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-second.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
Lyndon B. Johnson, Proclamation 3843—National Jewish Hospital Save Your Breath Month Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/306537