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2023 Brimming With Optimism!

An Article by Bruce Barcelo

Happy New Year!  There is nothing I would rather do than submit an article this month to 2023 brimming with optimism regarding youth vaping.  National survey numbers told us that youth vaping went down in 2021 but when youth returned to classrooms in the fall of 2021 the conversations, I was having with school administrators from around the country certainly didn’t reflect that. Florida data recently released shows that vaping/tobacco incidents almost doubled in this past school year.

If we look at the sales numbers of e-cigarettes, we might better understand the youth epidemic. Zero percent of disposable e-cigarettes had the highest level of nicotine in 2017, today 90% have the highest level of nicotine.  Nearly half of the high school students who vape do so daily. A number that doesn’t make any sense, the prices for vaping products with nicotine strengths that had a low nicotine level (1-2%), increased in prices ($10.40-$29.20). Products with high nicotine levels (4-5%) dropped ($12.80-$10.10). Why this is so concerning is that youth are price sensitive. The market moved to higher nicotine-level products with a cheaper cost for one reason.

So where do we turn for our New Year’s inspiration? Let us turn to the remarkable citizens of Ohio, who when it looked like Big Tobacco had used all its massive weight to sway politicians to potentially dismantle not only the Columbus flavor ban, but tobacco prevention efforts made around the state, it was you who called and wrote the governor to ask him to veto this effort. Today, Ohio is stronger because we stood together and weathered this storm. It is now a new year and together, we will battle because our youth need our support.

2023-01-23T11:39:36-05:00January 23rd, 2023|Bruce Barcelo, Uncategorized|

Partnering with Parents for Improved Nicotine Cessation Outcomes

Many parents who use nicotine products recognize that there are risks to their health and the wellbeing of their baby. However, efforts to quit are complicated by a myriad of factors, especially for those who Black, Indigenous and People of Color. For instance, in addition to having higher rates of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality, research suggests that smokers who identify as African American also experience disparities in tobacco cessation counseling despite best practices for universal screening and counseling.1,2,4 As providers, we can positively impact the experiences of parents trying to quit using nicotine, especially those for whom health inequities exist. Below are some suggestions for becoming better partners with parents in tobacco treatment settings:

  • Listen to parents. We all know that quitting can be difficult. As providers, it is essential for us to understand the unique challenges of each parent, as well as their available resources if we are going to develop a quit plan that is realistic and attainable for them. If we are not collaborating with clients on strategies that meet their unique needs, quit attempts may not be as successful.
  • Practice cultural humility. A lack of awareness of cultural practices and rituals that are important to parents of diverse backgrounds may give the perception that these things are not valued or relevant to their quit attempts. It is important for us to recognize that culture matters in health care decision-making and behavior change. As such, it is imperative that we are intentional about understanding the lived experiences of those we serve and not imposing our values upon them.
  • Explore implicit biases. Implicit bias occurs when attitudes and perceptions unconsciously affect our behaviors. For providers offering nicotine cessation treatment, it is essential that we explore our implicit biases in working with specific populations and individuals and make appropriate corrections to behaviors that negatively impact care (e.g., decisions about who we offer services and what those services entail, confronting assumptions about treatment adherence). This may be difficult to discern without direct feedback from our clients. However, regular consultation and collaboration with colleagues from diverse backgrounds can support our efforts to be more aware of and reduce bias.
  • Address structural racism within our organizations. If we are to address the impact of structural racism in our organizational policies and practices, we must first acknowledge the systems of racism that exist. Prioritizing continuing education that focuses on anti-racism and cultural humility is an important first step. Ensuring that stakeholders are part of the process in creating nicotine cessation programs and services is also paramount. We should be developing programs with those who are seeking our services, not for

By becoming better partners to parents, especially those for whom health inequities exist, we can positively impact their well-being and the health of their babies. What commitment will you make to become a better partner?

References:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335518300421
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5434788/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/health-equity/index.htm
  4. https://www.heart.org/-/media/Files/About-Us/Policy-Research/Fact-Sheets/Tobacco-and-Clean-Air/Structural-Racism-and-Tobacco-Fact-Sheet.pdf
2023-01-23T11:10:21-05:00January 23rd, 2023|Dr. Alfred, Uncategorized|

Vaping is the new smoking

While tobacco products, combustibles as well as dip and chew, continue to be utilized by more than thirty million adults in the United States1, vaping seems to be the new smoking. Research shows that vaping is one of the most popular substances use trends, especially among young adults and teens. Flavors that are enticing to young people, including sweet, fruity flavors and menthol have led to their popularity. Additionally, vaping devices come in forms that are appealing and discreet, making them more accessible than other forms of nicotine.

Vaping has also become popularized as a strategy for tobacco cessation. There is a perception that vaping is a healthier option than smoking. However, despite its popularity, vaping does not come without risks. We share a few myths and misconceptions to help clarify the dangers of using vaping devices and e-cigarettes.

Myth #1 Vaping is safe. While those who vape avoid exposure to tar, carbon monoxide and harmful chemicals that are associated with combustible tobacco, studies show that there are still thousands of toxins, metals, and ultrafine particles that people who vape are exposed to2. Further, the substance that is released from vaping is not a water vapor. The substance released is an aerosol, which over time can result in cardiovascular and respiratory problems. Additionally, it has been estimated that more than 90% of vaping cartridges and liquids sold in the United States contain nicotine, which can be harmful to adolescent brain development and lead to nicotine dependence3. Vaping also presents risks for those who are pregnant. Vaping during pregnancy can result in low birth weight, and problems with lung and brain development in babies4,5. In essence, vaping is not free from health risks for adults, youth, or those who are pregnant.

Myth #2 Vaping can help with tobacco cessation. While some have had success with quitting tobacco after initiating vaping, many who vape also continue to smoke in some capacity. Most American public health agencies discourage vaping and e-cigarettes as a tool for tobacco cessation because there are known, and unknown health risks associated with their use. Certified nicotine treatment specialists can assist those trying to quit in exploring safer options.

Myth #3 Vaping is not addictive. As noted earlier, most vapes contain nicotine, a substance that is highly addictive. Both physiological and psychological addiction are possible consequences of vaping. Working with a nicotine treatment specialist can help with developing strategies for managing cravings and other symptoms associated with nicotine addiction. They can also assist with nicotine replacement therapies that are deemed safe for those who are trying to quit.

In summary, vaping has become a popularized form of smoking, but it is not risk-free. Learn more about the risks of vaping and the impact it can have on you and those around you, especially if you are pregnant.

References:

    1. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm
    2. https://drugfree.org/article/how-vaping-affects-teens-health/
    3. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/Quick-Facts-on-the-Risks-of-E-cigarettes-for-Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults.html
    4. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/21162-vaping
    5. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/substance-abuse/e-cigarettes-pregnancy.htm
2023-01-23T11:10:26-05:00January 10th, 2023|Dr. Alfred, Uncategorized|

Welcome To The Team, Beryl!

Meet Our New Board Member

We’re excited to announce that we have added a new board member to our team, Beryl Brown Piccolantonio!

Beryl is the Chief Ombudsman, Ohio Worker’s’ Compensation and Board President, Gahanna-Jefferson  school board.

Her strengths include problem solving, communication skills, community outreach, public policy and organizational proficiency.

When asked what her “why” is for joining The Breathing Association Board, she said: “I’m excited to join the Breathing Association because it’s an opportunity for me to help make sure that everyone in our community has an opportunity for healthy breathing”.

We look forward to the expertise she will bring to our team!

2022-12-29T11:05:30-05:00December 29th, 2022|Uncategorized|

Interview With Dr. Rob Crane

Our President & CEO, Lori Sontag, interviews one of our Board Members, Dr. Rob Crane. Learn more about Dr. Crane’s relationship with The Breathing Association and the big things to come in Smoking Cessation!

2022-12-29T11:01:57-05:00December 29th, 2022|Uncategorized|

The Breathing Association supports Columbus’ major step forward to help our community stop smoking and vaping

On Monday, December 12, Lori Sontag, Alisha Hopkins and Bruce Barcelo represented The Breathing Association at the Columbus City Council meeting to hear testimony about the proposed $1 million campaign to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products.

After two years of this proposal being up for debate, the vote was unanimous to ban flavored tobacco and vapes. This ban will be a step forward to help our community quit smoking and vaping.

The “Comprehensive Tobacco Cessation Education and Awareness Campaign” will also provide resources and educational programs for those who are addicted to nicotine to help them quit.

For more information about cessation programs and resources, visit our website. https://breathingassociation.org/quit-for-good/

2022-12-28T09:53:29-05:00December 22nd, 2022|Uncategorized|

Be A Quitter: Supporting Nicotine Cessation for Infant Vitality

In Ohio, and other states throughout the country, there is an effort to enhance infant vitality and maternal health outcomes. Although rates of infant mortality in Ohio dropped from 2019 to 2020, the current overall rate of 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births; 13.6 deaths per 1,000 live births for Black infants in Ohio suggests that there are still far too many infant deaths in our state1. There are multifaceted and complex factors that contribute to these statistics, including drivers of health inequity (e.g., racism, implicit bias, poverty), which we cannot ignore if we are going to positively impact the outcomes. While we work to address these issues on a systemic level, we know that on an individual level, helping those who are pregnant or postpartum to quit nicotine can have a positive impact on infant vitality.

While many women and birthing people attempt to quit during pregnancy, statistics show that smoking during pregnancy is not uncommon. The National Vital Statistics System showed that in 2016 about 7.2% of women who gave birth reported smoking during pregnancy. Smoking was most common amongst American Indian and Alaska natives and women ages 20-242. Quitting nicotine during pregnancy may seem intuitive, because of the health benefits for mom and baby. However, we know that systemic health inequities and pregnancy-related stressors may make it difficult for those who use nicotine to quit, especially if their use is triggered by toxic stressors. It is imperative that we find ways to support those who are pregnant in their health goals, and address health care inequities that contribute to their overall wellbeing. In today’s edition, we offer suggestions to those who are trying to quit. In future newsletters, we will discuss systemic and provider-related strategies for improving infant vitality.

So, what are some ways for you to better manage your stress if you are pregnant while trying to quit?

  • Practice deep breathing. Diaphragmatic or deep breathing gives you time to pause and regulate your emotional state in a moment of stress.
  • Set healthy boundaries. Sometimes we take on more than we can handle and need to practice saying “no” or “not right now” to improve our stress level.
  • Increase your activity. The natural hormones released from exercise or activity can help counteract the effects of cumulative stress.
  • Find a trusted, culturally aware provider to support you during your health journey. For people who are pregnant, having a safe environment where you feel seen and heard can make the difference in your care experience. Working with providers you trust and feel safe with is essential for discussing challenges, including nicotine cessation, and getting the support you need to quit.
  • Join our Infant Vitality Program. We will help you to better understand the risks of smoking to you and your baby and help you with strategies for quitting.
  • Join a free support group. The Perinatal Outreach and Engagement for Moms (POEM) Program in central Ohio has support groups for mothers and birthing people that are led by peer facilitators. These groups can help with developing healthy new coping strategies and knowing you are not alone in your struggles.
  • Initiate therapy. Sometimes unmanaged anxiety and depressive symptoms may make it more difficult to manage stress. Find a qualified, culturally aware therapist to help you navigate life stressors that make it challenging for you to quit.

The risks of smoking and using nicotine are too great for you, and for your baby. Be a quitter for you and for your baby. You are both worth the effort.

References:

  1. https://odh.ohio.gov/know-our-programs/infant-vitality
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db305.pdf
2023-01-23T11:10:32-05:00November 29th, 2022|Dr. Alfred, Uncategorized|

Help us get our Mini Mobile Medical Unit Rolling

Earlier this year we were thrilled to receive the generous donation of an additional mobile medical unit help the growing demand for our medical services in the communities we proudly serve in Central Ohio. Every day that we can bring medical screenings, tests, education, and treatment to patients with transportation barriers, is an opportunity that someone can breathe easier. In addition to regular visits, patients can receive a much-needed blood pressure monitoring, an inhaler, smoking cessation treatment, education on managing COPD and asthma or a vaccination to keep them healthy.

The need in our communities is rapidly and steadily growing, from families, with patients of all ages. With the addition of our Mini Medical Unit, we could bring this much needed care to families with your help. In addition to scheduled visits out in the communities, we take care out to community events and gatherings to provide people with screenings and education.

Our only roadblock—we have an empty Medical Mobile Unit. Will you help us fill it so we can shift it into drive and get the care rolling? We need items such as an exam table, an otoscope, a BP cuff, a thermometer, scales, a spirometer, a sink, restroom facilities, just to name a few things. The vehicle also needs exterior signage and wrapping so that everyone knows that medical services are on the way! To hit the gas pedal and get healthcare to the community, our goal is to raise $75,000. Your gift can make a meaningful impact.

Help us get rolling!

Will you help us purchase a thermometer? Or an exam table? All contributions stay right here, with 100% going to support our community with free medical services.

Make your contribution today by clicking here
2022-11-21T14:01:33-05:00November 18th, 2022|Uncategorized|

Quit is Best for All

Pregnancy represents a time of change. In addition to the physical changes in your body, the most notable adjustment that you will make during pregnancy is the attention and focus that you give to your health. Starting a regimen of prenatal vitamins and other supplements will be a focus of initial appointments. This is in addition to continuing treatment that you are already engaged in to manage health issues you had prior to pregnancy. Depending on your health profile, you may require more appointments than you expected, which means changes to your schedule and routine. Most likely, you will also be asked to consider modifications to your diet and possibly your activity level.

Out of all of the things that you will be asked to make, one of the best things you can do during your pregnancy is quit smoking and/or vaping nicotine. Each of the aforementioned health goals are important but quitting smoking can help save lives and improve the overall health of you and your baby. Now we know pregnancy can also be a time of great stress, and for some smoking is a coping strategy. In future postings, we will share more about strategies and tips, but for now, let us consider some of the health benefits for you and your baby if you quit.

  • You gain a sense of accomplishment and empowerment that you have taken an important step in improving your overall health.
  • You can increase your life expectancy by as much as 10 years.
  • You decrease your risk for certain cancers, lung diseases, and heart diseases.
  • You lower your baby’s risk for preterm birth. Complications experienced from a preterm birth can result in significant health issues in your baby and create undue stress for you as a parent. Emotional, financial, and employment stress are common for those who have babies with complications during and after birth.
  • You decrease the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). This condition is more prevalent in babies whose parents were smokers
  • You lower your baby’s risk for asthma and other respiratory conditions.

We know it may not be an easy thing to accomplish, but we will support you along the way. As you consider what it might take for you to start this process, remember that no matter how difficult, quit is best for all. Start your journey today by accessing free resources at https://smokefree.gov.

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking

http://women.smokefree.gov/pregnancy-motherhood/quitting-while-pregnant

#ElevatingNewMoms

2023-01-23T11:10:36-05:00November 4th, 2022|Dr. Alfred, Uncategorized|

Let’s Remember and Take the Next Step

An Article by Bruce Barcelo

It has been 54 years since the Surgeon General’s report, Smoking and Health, really had a major impact to change policy and how we as Americans would see tobacco. Did you know the government was so concerned that the news the Surgeon General Luther Terry was about to give, was so powerful and the smoking rates were so high in the U.S., they held the press conference to release the report on a Saturday morning?  This began a major decline in tobacco use in the general population but, unfortunately, nicotine use and secondhand smoke exposure is still higher among some groups.

As awareness of nicotine-related disparities has grown, the need to address these needs has become more clear. Health equity in nicotine prevention and control is the ability for all people to live a healthy and nicotine-free life, regardless of their race, gender identity, level of education, the job they have, sexual orientation, if they have a disability or where they may live.

The Breathing Association is a community leader In addressing nicotine-related disparities. We provide best practice cessation to the populations that the tobacco industry targets with their deadly products. The Breathing Association also is a leading advocate for policies that promote health equity. It is always important to remember where we have been. Then always link arms and move forward. I heard a phrase several weeks ago that has stayed with me, “The day we plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit”.

#KickTheNic

2023-01-05T11:08:32-05:00November 4th, 2022|Bruce Barcelo, Uncategorized|
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