The Forum of International Respiratory Societies has released a report entitled Respiratory Disease in the World: Realities of Today-Opportunities for Tomorrow. The report identifies five conditions that primarily contribute to the global burden of respiratory disease (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute respiratory infections, tuberculosis, and lung cancer), and offers an action plan to prevent and treat those diseases. It describes the staggering magnitude of the global burden of lung disease: hundreds of millions of people suffer and four million people die prematurely from respiratory diseases each year. The situation is not hopeless, because most major respiratory illnesses are avoidable. Much of the disease burden can be mitigated by reducing exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution, restraining tobacco use, and relieving urban overcrowding. Implementation of the strategies described in the Forum of International Respiratory Societies respiratory diseases report would have a profound effect on respiratory health, reduce economic costs, and enhance health equality in the world.