Respiratory Medicine Program Committee

The objective is to advocate for high quality care in respiratory health and to provide leadership in areas of respiratory education, policy development, best practice guidelines and research addressing the needs of family physicians in this special interest field. We aim to be the trusted voice for family physician perspectives in the prevention and management of patients with respiratory conditions in Canada.

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DISCLAIMER: Editorial comments posted to this web page are those of the Respiratory Medicine Program Committee members and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Respiratory Medicine in the News 

Editorial content written by Dr. Alan Kaplan, chair of the Respiratory Medicine SIFP Committee.

Summer 2015
Children born or living in poorer neighbourhoods most likely to develop asthma
Editorial: The bulk of asthma starts in childhood. Exposure when young to air pollution, especially if disadvantaged economically is a real factor for prognosis. You cannot always move from where you live, but you can use tools like the Air Quality Health Index to assess your individual daily risk and modify your outdoors activity on high risk days (

SK health minister agrees to ban on menthol cigarettes
Editorial: 50% of high school students who smoke, smoke flavoured tobacco. Banning this product should be a no-brainer to stop the addiction before it happens!

Health Canada updates it advice on asbestos
Editorial: 107,000 people die globally annually from asbestos related illness. The only acceptable amount of inhaled asbestos anywhere is ZERO!

Canadian Medical Association concerned about the impact of air pollution
Editorial: "the sources of air pollution include such diverse factors as diesel transportation, oil and gas industry activity, forest fires, smoke from wood-burning stoves and air pollution in neighbouring provinces and states." This will take a government initiative to make changes. The CMAJ editorial is spot on!

June 2015

Schools now required to let children carry their own inhalers
Editor’s note: Finally, some common sense. What a shame that it took a 12 year old boy to die for schools to change antiquated policies. But remember, the management of asthma includes the use of a controller at home, not just the rescue at school. Good control would make it less likely to need the rescue.

Germ-free environments contributing to increase of allergies, UBC study finds
Some evidence behind the 'Hygiene Hypothesis' that we need to expose our immune system (Th1) or what gets turned on is the Th2 allergic system instead. Overuse of antibiotics and even paracetamol has been postulated to cause asthma. The other issue is air quality, and brings up the issue if schools should be close to major highways...likely not! Also, if you are unaware, the Air Quality Health Index for your location can be found at  

Quebec tackles e-cigarettes on patios
Fantastic initiative that is in line with this author's personal view. Help patients quit smoking, but do not legitimize smoking as a behavior and restrict where e cig are allowed and not allow flavoured products either.

Ontario passes legislation to bans the sale of flavored tobacco products to combat smoking and obesity
Banning flavoured tobacco is one more way to decrease interest in smoking, especially the youth. I am not sure, however, how this will reduce obesity, but still applaud the new rules!

Canadian researcher examining link between gut bacteria and asthma
This  is not ready for prime time information. There is no evidence that probiotics improve anything yet, or we have not found the correct one. That being said, however, that relationship between childhood asthma and antibiotics may be more relevant than we thought.

April 2015

Twitter may help hospitals predicts spikes in asthma attacks

Editorial: Social media can now predict illness spikes! Pay attention for what will come next!

March 2015

Lung cancer now top killer of women

Editorial: Primary prevention: Stop smoking. Screening: beginning (see previous articles). Treatment: new advances coming. Summary: More common, but more we can do about it.

Health Canada dispatching secret shoppers to test how willing stores are to sell electronic cigarettes to teens

Editorial: More fuel to our E cigarette debate (see upcoming article in the Canadian Family Physician). However, we all agree; these should not be sold to children!

Study: air pollution slows brain development in children

Editorial: Air pollution affects brain development and lung development. Use the Air Quality Health Initiative to check levels in your area. See your area at

Upcoming Events

January 2016

May 2016

  • 8th Annual International Primary Care Respiratory Group 2016 World Conference
    May 25 – 28 2016
    Amsterdam, Netherlands

For more CME/CPD events in your area, please check the CFPC Calendar of Events.

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