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DENVER — Colorado’s air quality is getting worse, according to a new report by the American Lung Association.

In the new report, Denver went from the 14th worst city for air quality to the 12th worst thanks to ozone pollution, which is the “brown cloud” that we often see sitting over the skyline.

It also finds that the biggest reason for the pollution is Colorado’s population increase – which increases the amount of vehicles on our roads.

The American Lung Association puts together this report every year and Ellen Penrod, the executive director for the American Lung Association in Colorado, says ozone has an impact on our lungs.

Penrod described it like getting a sunburn on your lungs – or breathing sandpaper in and out, every day with every breath.

And it can be damaging especially for people living with lung disease.

“Overall this was one of our worst years for air. It was a wake up call,” Penrod said. “We have been congratulating ourselves on how well we have done in cleaning up our air and we took a step back and we need to make sure we take a step forward to make sure we continue to make progress in cleaning our air.”

The American Lung Association says the biggest things Colorado can do to change this is support clean air legislation and take alternative transportation to reduce cars on the roads as well as becoming more conscious of our energy consumption.

The report breaks air pollution by cities and counties and you can view the full report on its website.