Be A Quitter: Supporting Nicotine Cessation for Infant Vitality

An Article by Dr. Dorienna Alfred

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.


2022-11-29T08:40:54-05:00November 29th, 2022|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

An Article by Dr. Dorienna Alfred

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



2022-11-04T15:13:59-04:00November 4th, 2022|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”.


2022-11-04T15:12:44-04:00November 4th, 2022|Uncategorized|

2022 Charitable Giving From Every Angle Webinar Event Thank You For Joining!

Couldn’t make the virtual event? Watch our recording of the Charitable Giving From Every Angle Webinar below!

Webinar Event took place on Thursday, November 17th at 12:00 PM

Thank you to our panelists for sharing their insight on such an important topic.

Mike Schmidt
Executive Vice President & Partner at Cramer & Associates

David Reape
Principal and Director of Tax Service HW&Co. | CPAs & Advisors conclusion

Jill Garvey
Senior Vice President and Senior Wealth Strategist Huntington Private Bank

Rob Koogler
Private Bank Investment Advisor the Huntington National Bank

Robert Behal
Partner The Behal Law Group LLC

Lori Sontag
President & CEO of The Breathing Association

We want to thank you again for joining us for our 2022 Charitable Giving from Every Angle Webinar. If you have any questions following this webinar, please contact our Director Of Development,  Jennifer Burroway at

If you would like to contribute to The Breathing Association for your year-end giving

Click Here
2022-11-21T15:51:58-05:00November 2nd, 2022|Uncategorized|

Welcome To The Team, Dana!

Meet Our New Board Member

We’re excited to announce that we have added a new board member to our team, Dana Sadiq!

Dana is the Vice President CCB Marketing, Strategy, Testing & Analytics at Chase.

Her strengths include problem solving, communication skills, and organizational proficiency.

When asked what her “why” is for joining The Breathing Association Board, she said: “I was looking for a nonprofit organization that matched my values and I finally found it. With all the good work and services that The Breathing Association does and provides, it’s a no brainer to join the cause that works to provide access, care, and resources so that everyone has the right and ability to breathe freely.”

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

2022-10-11T10:42:25-04:00October 11th, 2022|Uncategorized|

Helping youth ‘Kick the Nic’

Below is a letter from our CEO, Lori Sontag, in support of an Editorial done by The Columbus Dispatch on the Ban to sell Flavored vaping tobacco and menthol cigarettes

Read our feature in The Columbus Dispatch!

The Breathing Association is in support of the Coalition to End Tobacco Targeting’s goal to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco and menthol cigarettes products. The Breathing Association has decades of experience as the hub of tobacco cessation and treating dependency with our Central Ohio community.

Seventy percent of those we serve are minority and all very low income. Our population is a target to buy these harmful products. We see the health effects and increased usage due to e-cigarettes in our community and support the ban of these products.

More:Angel: Big tobacco industry luring Black teens to death with candy-flavored e-cigarettes

The Tobacco Treatment Specialist program we offer to train medical professionals to treat and educate those with nicotine dependency has grown fast to meet the local needs. This comprehensive online program provides medical professionals the tools they need to provide smoking, vaping, nicotine treatment.

The epidemic with youth and young adults is setting the groundwork for a lifetime of dependency and lung health issues. While smoking cigarettes has declined in the youth population the overwhelming acceptance and trend to vape and use e-cigarettes with flavors has become an epidemic.

We are launching a new program to educate youth about the hazards of using these flavored nicotine product so they know the harms. Our new program called Kick the Nic is being piloted and we hope to expand it across Central Ohio to help youth understand and have the tools they need to kick this nicotine habit now while they are young and hopefully, we will reach youth before they begin.

The Breathing Association has been serving Central Ohio residents for over 115 years and now serves 1,500 patients per year in our Free Lung Health Clinic and in our Mobile Medical Unit, which travels to low-income Franklin County neighborhoods, relieving those living at or below the 175% Federal Poverty line of the lung health ailments and diseases that plague them through detection, diagnosis, care, and treatment.

Columbus must take action!

Lori Sontag, president and CEO, The Breathing Association

2022-10-11T10:38:32-04:00October 11th, 2022|Uncategorized|

What Do We Do, As Kids Return to School?

As our children return to classrooms all around the country, there are certainly important key thoughts we should keep in mind that will help us as parents, teachers, physicians, and adults that care about young lives. All indicators point toward the reality that youth vaping is on the rise. Youth data on e-cigarette use in 2021 has been dismissed by the FDA. It simply did not reflect current use. What we did see was when students returned to the classroom in the fall of 2021, an overwhelming amount of reports from school administrators of youth vaping were received. Sales of disposable vape products have been on a major rise and vape detector sales are increasing dramatically in schools.  Every indication is the same for this year. This week, a middle school principal told me that because of security issues, they began doing searches of every student’s bookbag.  What they found blew me away. They found a vaping device in over 95% of all bookbags and they returned the devices to the students!

So, what do we do with this knowledge?

First, model behavior. Do you know the #1 predictor of whether a youth will smoke or vape? It is if a parent or close family member does. If you smoke or vape, quit. The Breathing Association can help you.

Second, do your homework, so you understand what these products are and can share the health effects that concern you.  In other words, know what you are talking about.

Third, Start early. We know some youth are beginning to use in elementary school. Also, this is not “THE TALK”, this is using situations in which you see vaping. Maybe you see someone vaping in a car next to you and start a conversation. Talk with, not at youth. Ask a question, and then listen.

There will be many other tools we will discuss over time this coming year. Do keep this in mind, if you have a young person in your life that is using a nicotine product, be patient. We’ve never seen a product as addictive as the new disposable e-cigarettes. Relapse is normal, it takes most people many attempts to quit nicotine.

2022-09-22T16:24:50-04:00September 22nd, 2022|Uncategorized|

Elevating New Moms Smoking Cessation for Mother’s

Improve the health of your baby and earn up to $1,000!

If you’re an expectant mother of 3 months pre-partum through 3 months post-partum, you’re invited to join Elevate, a new infant vitality program sponsored by The Breathing Association in partnership with Celebrate One.

Elevate is a three-year study that will research how smoking, either directly or second hand, affects infant vitality. Over the course of eight months, healthcare professionals will periodically monitor you and your baby’s health and provide smoking cessation and other resources.

To SIGN UP and be a part of this program, please email Davan O’Reilly at

If you have and questions about the program, please email our Director of Lung Health Center, Alisha Hopkins at

Scan the QR Code to sign up for the study or click on this link!

2022-10-17T11:47:03-04:00September 12th, 2022|Uncategorized|

Tobacco Online Policy Seminar (TOPS) Fall Series

The Tobacco Online Policy Seminar will be continuing their 2022 Fall series starting tomorrow, August 12th, with guest speaker, Dr. Katherine Meckel. Her seminar, “The Effects of Smoking on Mental Health: Evidence from a Randomized Trial”, will begin at 12pm ET New York. The following seminars will be held on Fridays, 12:00 – 1:00 PM ET New York. Below is the link to their website; you can join their email list for updates and zoom invitations for the seminars or register directly for the zoom seminars. Both links can be found on their website along with the line up of guest speakers for the fall series.

2022-08-11T16:30:50-04:00August 11th, 2022|Uncategorized|
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