TFLH, BHF and NHSBT highlight the need for heart and lung emojis

This World Emoji Day (17 July), the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Taskforce for Lung Health (TFLH) and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) are highlighting the need for heart and lung organ emojis.  

The cardiac and respiratory are two of the body’s most vital systems. While there’s a plethora of emjois such as legs, nose and tongue there’s still no lung emoji. And colorful love hearts may be in plentiful supply but there’s no emoji which looks like a real human heart.

One in five people in the UK have been diagnosed with lung disease and it accounts for 700,000 hospital admissions every year. Heart and circulatory diseases cause more than one-quarter of all UK deaths – nearly 170,000 each year. That’s one every three minutes in the UK. There are more than 650 people waiting for a heart, lung or heart and lung transplant in the UK right now, including more than 40 children.

Given the huge human impact of coronary and respiratory diseases, the BHF and TFLH say it’s vital we have modern tools to provoke a conversation about improving the country’s heart and lung health.

Alison Cook, Chair of the TFLH, said:

Millions use emojis everyday but at present the lungs, the organ responsible for every breath we take, isn’t an option.

Right now, somebody dies every five minutes from lung disease. If we are going to revolutionize this country’s lung health we need to put the lungs front and center in the public’s imagination.  

A lung emoji is the perfect place to start. We hope by finally giving the lungs the love they deserve it’ll help shine a light on just how important lung health is and finally start making a dent in the UK’s distressing death rates.

Creating a buzz around the lungs will show tomorrow’s medical students what an exciting field respiratory medicine can be – helping fill the high numbers of empty consultant posts.”

Athar Abidi, Head of Social for the BHF, said:

There may be a love heart emoji available in every colour of the rainbow but there’s nothing that currently shows what our heart really looks like.

Now feels like the right moment for our ever-expanding palette of emojis to include a more realistic heart.

At the BHF we want to beat heartbreak forever, and sometimes a good old-fashioned love heart emoji might not hit quite the right note – this new emoji could be a valuable addition to online conversations on issues such as organ donation.”

Thousands of people are waiting for organ transplants, including hundreds of patients who need a heart, lungs or both, and conversations about organ donation save lives.

Andi Ttofa, Head of Organ Donation Campaigns at NHS Blood and Transplant, said:

We support the call for heart and lung emojis, we need to get people talking about these organs and the fact more people need to donate them to save lives.

There are more than 650 people waiting for a heart, lung or heart and lung transplant in the UK right now, including more than 40 children.

Social media, including emojis, can be really powerful in inspiring people to talk about organ donation. With the law around organ donation changing in England and Scotland next year, we need everyone to decide whether they want to be an organ donor and tell their family their decision.”

Both the lung and heart emoji have been given draft candidate status for release in 2020. However, they both still need to win internal ballots before they’ll be approved for release by the Unicode Consortium.

The TFLH, BHF and NHSBT are calling for the public to voice their support for the lung and heart proposals by tweeting their support for both organs with the hashtag #LungHeartEmoji on World Emoji Day.

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