This indicator is currently being revised as new data is available.

In 2017, a total of 6.1% of the population in Switzerland had a chronic respiratory disease: 4.8% had asthma and 2% had chronic bronchitis, a symptomatic COPD or emphysema (medically diagnosed).

Chronic bronchitis, COPD and emphysema tend to be more common in people aged 55 and over than in younger age groups.

This indicator is part of the Monitoring System Addiction and NCD (MonAM) of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

Bronchial asthma is a common chronic respiratory disease. It often starts in childhood and is characterised by difficulty in breathing, often accompanied by wheezing and coughing. The disease is due to an over-sensitivity of the airways.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an umbrella term for respiratory diseases associated with coughing, expectoration and difficulty in breathing. Chronic bronchitis and obstructive emphysema often lead to a COPD. COPD especially affects people who smoked for a long time. For this reason it is also commonly known as ‘smoker’s cough’.

According to the Swiss Lung League, in the course of their lifetime, 7-10% of the Swiss population fall ill with asthma and around 400 000 persons with a COPD. The frequency of COPD was estimated on the basis of data from the SAPALDIA study (Bridevaux et al., 2010).


This indicator was calculated on the basis of data from the Swiss Health Survey (SHS).

It shows the percentage of the population aged 15 and over who have asthma or chronic bronchitis/COPD/emphysema.

To establish people with a respirator disease, affirmative answers to the following questions were taken into account: «Was the asthma diagnosed by a doctor or some other person with a medical background?». (TKRAN11a) «Was the chronic bronchitis, COPD or emphysema diagnosed by a doctor or some other person with a medical background?» (TKRAN11e) Interviewees could choose from the following answers: «Yes/No».

In the interviews before 2017, these questions were asked in writing and also worded differently. In the 2017 interview, they were asked verbally.

An explanation of socio-demographic variables can be found in the document: Definition of the characteristics


Further information

  • Bridevaux P.O. et al. (2010). Prevalence of airflow obstruction in smokers and never-smokers in Switzerland. European Respiratory Journal, 36(6):1259-1269.
  • Swiss Lung League: Website (in German, French, and Italian)

Media enquiries

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Tel. +41 58 462 95 05

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