Air pollution is a major cause of premature death and disease, and is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe.

Heart disease and stroke are the most common reasons for premature death attributable to air pollution, followed by lung diseases and lung cancer.

The effects of air pollution on health depend not only on exposure but also on the vulnerability of people. Vulnerability to the impacts of air pollution can increase with age, pre-existing health conditions or particular behaviours. Find more information in our report on Unequal exposure and unequal impacts: social vulnerability to air pollution, noise and extreme temperatures in Europe and in the “Combined risks and inequalities” section of the European environment and health atlas.