The Breathing Association to host ribbon cutting to celebrate relocation to E Broad Street

June 25th, 2024 at 2pm-4pm

Columbus, OH – The Breathing Association will celebrate the grand opening of our new facility at 741 East Broad Street with a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 25th at 2pm. This momentous occasion marks not only the our relocation but also nearly 120 years of service to the community.

The event is made possible through generous sponsorships from Encova Insurance and AndHealth.

Our celebration will be attended by over 300 esteemed guests including partners, sponsors, friends, and government officials from the city, county, and state levels. Confirmed speakers include CEO Lori Sontag, and Board Chair Ed Frantz, who will share opening remarks, as well as other special guests. Attendees will also have the opportunity to tour the new facility guided by our leadership team.

Strategically located on East Broad Street, our new facility provides ample space to accommodate our rapid growth and to better serve the community’s needs. With an emphasis on accessibility, the relocation ensures that patients can easily access the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center for essential post-hospitalization care. By expanding medical facilities, including exam rooms and mobile diagnostic capabilities, The Breathing Association aims to enhance patient care and reduce hospital readmissions, ultimately lowering healthcare costs.

Additionally, our new location will enable the organization to expand  outreach efforts, particularly in tobacco cessation and education through the Tobacco Treatment Center of Ohio. Moreover, increased capacity for the Ohio Department of Development Household Energy Assistance Program will facilitate smoother operations and better support for families facing utility burdens.

Since its founding in 1906 by Carrie Nelson Black during the Tuberculosis epidemic, The Breathing Association has been a cornerstone of charitable healthcare in Central Ohio. With a legacy of providing free healthcare services and extensive programs in lung health, nicotine cessation, and community assistance, the organization remains committed to improving lives for the next 120 years and beyond.

“We are delighted to celebrate this milestone in our organization’s history and look forward to continuing our mission of promoting lung health and wellness in Central Ohio,” said Lori Sontag, President & CEO of The Breathing Association.

For media inquiries or further information, please contact:

Jennifer Burroway
Director of Development & Marketing
The Breathing Association

2024-06-24T14:19:29-04:00June 24th, 2024|Uncategorized|

Central Ohio nonprofit buys historic Near East Side building

A historic Near East Side building has a new owner.

The Breathing Association plans to move to the building at 741 E. Broad St. in July. Jim Havens, principal at Havens Limited, bought the building for the nonprofit, and the organization is leasing it from him with the option to eventually buy it, CEO Lori Sontag said.

The building was put on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1980s.

The 117-year-old Breathing Association was founded during the tuberculosis outbreak in the 19th century. The nonprofit is the oldest free clinic in Ohio, and serves anyone with any lung health condition, including cessation from smoking or vaping, Sontag told me.

The Breathing Association also helps Central Ohioans with utility bills. In 2023, the organization helped more than 40,000 with their utilities.

The organization is funded mostly by donations and grants, said Jennifer Burroway, director of development for the Breathing Association.

Havens bought the Broad Street building for about $1 million. The Breathing Association is making some improvements to the inside of the building, built in 1942, which will cost another $5oo,ooo, Sontag said. Wellogy, a Dublin-based architect that specializes in healthcare design, is designing the modifications.

Moving the nonprofit to Broad Street will allow the Breathing Association to grow. It’s currently located on the first floor of the Columbus Urban League building on the Near East Side.

“Over the last two years, our growth caused us to need more space,” Sontag said. “We’ve seen that the demand is there; we think we’ll see more growth, especially in our clinic.”

The new building will allow the nonprofit to expand the clinic to treat broader health and wellness issues, Burroway said. The new location also has room for the Breathing Association to start a pulmonary rehabilitation center.

“We’re needed in the community,” Sontag said. “Without us, there would be a heavier burden on our area medical systems or people would have high medical bills that they never pay off.”

Netcare Access, a mental health clinic, previously owned the building.

Mike Simpson and Andrew Green of NAI Ohio Equities represented the seller in this deal.

2024-06-24T12:44:38-04:00June 24th, 2024|Uncategorized|

How do you know when we’re in trouble?

We’re in trouble when Big Tobacco is writing to the FDA, complaining that the government must do something about a vape product coming from China, Metatine or 6-methyl nicotine.

Let me back up a little bit. On April 14, 2022, the FDA was authorized to regulate tobacco products containing nicotine from any source, including synthetic nicotine. Some companies had begun producing vaping products with synthetic nicotine stating they didn’t have “tobacco” in them, so the FDA had no authority to regulate them. Congress corrected that. Around October 2023, vape stores in the U.S. started selling a product named Spree Bar. Spree Bar was sold claiming it was FDA premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) exempt. This product, and now others coming from China are marketed as containing “Metatine”, a trademarked name for 6-methyl nicotine, a synthetic nicotine analog. So again, manufacturers have, for the time being, found a way to work around the system until the FDA can decide whether 6-methyl nicotine can be regulated as a drug under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).

As of now, there is at least one vaping product on the U.S. market as well as several oral nicotine products that are using some derivative of 6-methyl nicotine. There are projections that this will be a billion-dollar market. Others are skeptical. Metatine is said to give users the same satisfaction a nicotine product does, and it comes with a lower price point, but the critical point is, for the time being, it isn’t hindered by the FDA’s authority over nicotine products.

Let me return to the letter Altia Group, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, wrote to the FDA. In speaking of the warning vaping products that had 6-methyl nicotine in them, warning they posed a “new threat”.  “The introduction and growth of chemicals intended to imitate the effects of nicotine, if left unchecked, could present unknown risks to U.S. consumers and undermine FDA’s authority,” the letter said.

Who loses in this story? Our kids do.

2024-06-14T09:23:04-04:00June 14th, 2024|Bruce Barcelo|

Vaping Detectors In Schools

In recent years, vaping among adolescents has become a major concern for educators and parents alike. The rise of e-cigarette use among teenagers has prompted schools to take proactive measures to address this issue. One important measure many schools are looking to is the implementation of vape detectors within school premises.

To begin with, vape detectors serve as a deterrent to vaping on school grounds. By installing these devices in restrooms, locker rooms, and other common areas, schools send a clear message that vaping is not tolerated. The mere presence of vape detectors acts as a reminder to students of the rules and regulations surrounding substance use, discouraging them from engaging in such behavior.

Something I believe is even more important, vape detectors enable schools to identify and address vaping incidents promptly. With real-time monitoring capabilities, these devices alert school administrators to potential vaping activity, allowing them to intervene before the situation escalates. By detecting vaping early on, schools can provide support to students who may be struggling with nicotine addiction or peer pressure.

Additionally, vape detectors contribute to overall campus safety by reducing the risk of fire hazards associated with vaping. Many e-cigarette devices use lithium-ion batteries, which have been known to malfunction and cause fires. By detecting vaping activity, these detectors help mitigate the risk of accidental fires, safeguarding students, staff, and school property.

Installation of vape detectors underscores the school’s commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle. By creating a vape-free environment, schools encourage students to make positive choices for their well-being and resist peer pressure to engage in harmful behaviors. In doing so, they foster a culture of responsibility and respect for oneself and others.

2024-04-18T14:35:32-04:00April 18th, 2024|Bruce Barcelo|

Is Smoking Weed Safer Than Smoking a Cigarette?

In recent surveys, the majority of Americans feel that inhaling marijuana smoke is safer than inhaling smoke from tobacco. Most Americans also believe that there is less harm to both adults and children who are exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke than cigarette smoke.

Does science back up these growingly popular concepts? Nope, we are learning more about the risks of marijuana use at an amazing rate. The fact is, when you burn tobacco or cannabis, it creates carcinogens which are toxic as well as particulate matter that is harmful to one’s health.  There is a growing concept that because cannabis is “natural”, inhaling or burning it is fine. Again, that is simply not true.

It is a ridiculous concept to debate if smoking cannabis is safer than smoking cigarettes. That is no more useful than asking, ‘Is eating a box of cookies healthier than eating a cake?’ NO added smoke is safe for our health.

There were surveys analyzed from 2017, 2020, and 2021. They showed that American’s positive perception of marijuana increased each year. The last year of the survey, 2021 shows that over 44% thought cannabis was somewhat or much safer than cigarette smoke. How about the harm of secondhand marijuana smoke?  Over 40% thought smoke from marijuana was safer than cigarette smoke.

Friends, we have so much work to do. As health professionals, educators, parents, or grandparents, we need to have conversations about facts like these. It’s not preaching about how using these products is going to ruin our teen’s lives. It’s about taking advantage of organic conversations about what they are seeing at school and in their community. What their friends may or may not be doing. And always, with an open mind, have conversations where there is an opportunity to drop some knowledge.

2024-03-26T11:09:54-04:00March 26th, 2024|Bruce Barcelo|

Wellness Vapes, Are They Safe?

Before Christmas, I had a mom tell me about this situation with her teenage daughter. Her daughter had asked her if she could have a personal diffuser.  Thinking it was something she would plug in and make her room smell like strawberries, Mom told her “Sure.” In a few days, the mom found her daughter in her room vaping what we now call “wellness vapes”.

Wellness vapes or “nutritional supplement diffusers” allow a user to inhale ingredients like vitamin B12, melatonin, caffeine, and many other options. These are usually slim, colorful cartridges, and names like Inhale Health and NutriAir. These products claim to do many things. There are options to help with sleep, give you energy, help with anxiety, and even fight ADHD. The fact of the matter is these products do not live up to their claim.  Here is the kicker, wellness vapes do not need FDA approval to be on the market. Why? They don’t contain nicotine, so the FDA has no control over these products.

The number and options for wellness vapes keep growing. They arrived on the market about four years ago. These products certainly hold something alluring and helpful to teens and undermine the efforts to encourage youth not to vape.

The FDA has warned that wellness vapes might well be dangerous. They may even trigger severe coughing and cause airways to tighten which could make breathing difficult. The simple truth is, it’s not ok to put anything unknown into our lungs.

Flavorings used in these products can cause lung damage and the propellants that send them into the lung will usually be propylene glycol and glycerin into the lungs and that is a medical concern.

Let’s be sure to include these products when talking to our youth about healthy choices. Help them understand that these products make many claims, but they are ineffective and at the worst, are likely to be harmful.

2024-02-20T15:24:13-05:00February 20th, 2024|Bruce Barcelo|

2024 A Year of New Heights

As we turn our eyes toward a new year and all it will bring. Let’s spend a few minutes looking at something relatively new, vaping cannabis. Unfortunately, we cannot go into depth explaining all the differences between CBD, THC, Deta-9, dabbing, blunts, chasing, and many other terms and important details to look at when discussing cannabis but we do need to understand several basic things.

How it works. Just like nicotine vaping devices, cannabis vapes work by heating a liquid or oil that becomes a vapor the user inhales. It is often difficult to tell a nicotine vape from a cannabis vape. Also, kids know how to hack them. I talked to a youth not long ago and he told me that he had a watermelon vape, used it till about half the vape was gone then opened it up and filled it with a THC liquid (he was very proud of himself). There are tons of YouTube showing how to do this.

We do need to know the difference between THC and CBD. THC is the psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis while CBD is non-psychoactive. There is also Delta-8 THC that can be sold as CBD. One thing all caregivers need to understand is this. Today’s cannabis is not the cannabis of the 60’s and 70’s. At the very least, 1 joint today is 10 times stronger than a joint in 1970. That means that for every 1 joint, you or your grandparent may have smoked, your child or grandchild would be smoking 10. Then you look at something like “dapping” where the cannabis is cooked down to a wax and is 80% stronger THC than a joint from the 1970s.

This brings us to the realities of the risks. I will highlight two of the vital organs at risk: the brain of the young person and their developing lungs. The brain of a young adult continues to grow into their early 20s and is busy developing critical skills related to problem-solving, impulse control, anticipating consequences, and more. Cannabis can get in the way of this critical development.

Several thousand lung injuries and deaths have been associated with an illness linked to vaping devices containing THC. Even though the CDC has stopped collecting this data, cases are still being recorded. Some symptoms to watch for are shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss, and gastrointestinal problems.

In months to come, we will look at how we can address this issue with our youth.

2024-01-03T16:54:13-05:00January 3rd, 2024|Bruce Barcelo|

🚭 S.M.A.R.T Quit Plan 🚀

Embark on a journey to a smoke-free life with a SMART Quit Plan. Although not the only factors, these are the key to help you with quitting.

🔑 Strategy is the key to success! 💡 Medication + counseling is proven, but tailor it to your personality and behaviors. 🔄 Whether you thrive in groups 👥 or prefer solo learning from books 📚, there’s a method for you!

🔥 Motivation Check: Assess your drive to quit. The higher the motivation, the stronger the quit attempt! 📈

🔍 Awareness is Key: Identify triggers – the who, what, where, and why. Understand behaviors, places, people, and emotions that fuel the habit. 🧠

✍️ Reasons Matter: Pen down YOUR reasons to quit. Personal motivations trump external pressures. Do it for yourself, for health, for the freedom! 🌈

⏰ Time and Telling: Don’t just quit, plan to quit! Set a quit date and prepare for the before, day of, and after. 🗓️ Share your journey with others for built-in support! 👭👬

Remember, success is not by chance, it’s by choice! 💫 #QuitSmoking #HealthyChoices #LifestyleChange”

2024-01-03T16:52:24-05:00January 3rd, 2024|Uncategorized|

A Call To Support

This time of the year can certainly mean the weather is changing outside. There are songs like, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” or maybe “Colder Weather” by Zac Brown that remind us of cold weather.  But actually, I’m thinking of the efforts Big Tobacco is going through to keep the “cooling agent” in cigarettes and vapes on the market: MENTHOL.

See, the FDA, in October of this year, sent the White House final regulations to eliminate menthol nicotine products like e-cigarettes, cigarettes, and cigars. But Big Tobacco won’t give these products up without a fight. Menthol cigarettes reap more than a third of all annual cigarette sales from menthols and US sales of “ice” e-cigarettes have been increasing at an alarming rate, with US sales growing by more than 10 times from 2017-2021. What is even more alarming, in 2023, almost 58% of US kids who vape, use ice e-cigarettes.

Big Tobacco put up a major fight as California passed its flavor ban that included menthol. Now, they have multiple front groups like “Alliance for Fair and Equitable Policy” to post advertisements opposing the federal ban on menthol and placing them on popular podcasts and local targeted radio and social. These ads prompt their target audience to call the White House in protest of the FDA proposal.

So now, it’s time for all of us to use our voices. I encourage you to call the White House’s comment line and leave a message for President Biden. Support the FDA’s recommendations on eliminating the sale of menthol products. The phone number is: 202-456-1111.

May your days be merry and bright.

2023-12-22T09:45:21-05:00December 22nd, 2023|Bruce Barcelo|
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