What to Do as School Begins?

Even though school is just beginning all around the country, I am being flooded with calls and emails that vaping remains the school’s number one problem. Research has shown us that vaping affects students’ learning ability, mental and emotional health, and self-esteem. This summer, researchers found that our youth are at risk of experiencing significant respiratory symptoms like bronchitis and shortness of breath, after vaping in the past 30 days. Those using in the past 30 days were 78% more likely to experience shortness of breath. Dr. Hamburg, cardiologist and Professor of Medicine at Boston University, wrote that youth who vape have been shown to “increase heart rate, blood pressure and affect the ability of the blood vessels to relax”.

So, what can we do? We must use our voice in our communities to not only support our schools in addressing this epidemic with evidence-based science but also with local, state, and national officials to change policies that allow companies like Puff Bar, not to be allowed to sell their products to youth. Get involved with Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes, PAVE. Their fall campaign, “Schools In – Vapes Out!” is something you will want to look at. PAVE is extremely helpful if your community needs education or direction in working with policymakers. Of course, our first priority is to communicate with our kids and for me, my grandkids, about the concerns of them and or their friends vaping. You can always email me with questions or comments. I can be reached at: bruce.barcelo@sotertechnologies.com.

Looking to have The Breathing Association bring the Kick The Nic program to your school or youth organization? Click here to find out more: https://breathingassociation.org/services/asthma-services/kick-the-nic/

2023-09-15T15:30:44-04:00September 15th, 2023|Uncategorized|

Back to School and Vaping

2023-08-16T15:54:32-04:00August 16th, 2023|Uncategorized|

The Breathe Easy Stroll on the Piazza!

In the mood for some Italian and charitable giving?

Join us for the Breathe Easy Stroll on the Piazza on Thursday, October 5th from 5:30pm-8:30pm at Carfagana’s Ristorante for an evening of fun, friends and fundraising for The Breathing Association Charity Healthcare Center.

What is happening on the piazza?

  • Wine tasting with Carfagna’s own wine experts!
  • Housemade Italian appetizers crafted by their chefs!
  • A silent auction, benefitting our charity care!
  • Live music!
  • Talk with our team about the newest ways The Breathing Association is growing to meet the needs of and bring heath equity to the communities we serve

Bring your friends and make some new ones!  Tickets are $150 per pair, and are limited!

Carfagna’s Ristorante is located at 1440 Gemini Place, Columbus, Ohio 43240

Click here to purchase your tickets!


Can’t make it on October 5th?  The silent auction is live now so you can still join in the fun and help support charity healthcare!  New items added regularly, the auction will conclude on the evening of the event!

Click here to check out the silent auction!


2023-08-14T16:28:37-04:00August 14th, 2023|Uncategorized|

Ohio Maternal and Infant Mortality

Did you know that 864 Ohio infants died before their first birthday in 2020?

Did you know that 326 of those infants were Black? That means Black infants accounted for more than 1/3 of all infant deaths in Ohio.

The overall rate of infant mortality in Ohio in 2020 was 6.7. White infants had a mortality rate of 5.1 per 1,000 live births, American Indian and Alaska Natives had a rate of 4.1 per 1,000 live births, Hispanic deaths were 5.1 per 1,000 births and Black infants died at a rate of 13.6 per 1,000 live births; that is three times the rate of all other groups. Prematurity was a leading cause of death.

Low birth weight is common among babies who are born pre-term, and this was especially true for Black babies in Ohio. In addition to low birth weight, other factors in prematurity include nicotine use during pregnancy, maternal drug and alcohol use, infection, and maternal age; many of these factors are modifiable. Of note, 25% of infants who died in Ohio were born to mothers who reported nicotine use before pregnancy. About 20% of mothers reported use during the first trimester and 15% reported nicotine use in the last trimester. White mothers were slightly more likely to use nicotine during pregnancy than other moms.

We see similarly worrisome trends in maternal mortality rates in Ohio. The most recent data suggests that Ohio has seen an increase in pregnancy-related maternal mortality since 2008 with a current rate of 23.7 deaths per 100,000 live births. The leading causes of death for mothers and birthing people in Ohio were mental health complications, including substance use. Most of these deaths occurred in the postpartum period and about 61% of these deaths were considered preventable. It should be noted that Black women are about two and a half times more likely to die from pregnancy-related factors (29.5 deaths per 100,000 live births) than White women (11.5 deaths per 100,000 births).

Ohio infant and maternal mortality statistics are sobering, but more importantly, they are devastating to families, and communities. The data regarding causes of deaths suggests a need to address modifiable risk factors, including the use of nicotine and other drugs during pregnancy, maternal mental health, and confront biases in care. This month we encourage you to consider ways in which your organization can educate the community on these statistics and create solutions that will positively impact infant and maternal mortality rates in Ohio. One way you can positively impact the health and wellbeing of moms and birthing people in our community who use nicotine is to refer them to the Elevating New Moms Program. Please see the following link for more details: https://breathingassociation.org/services/elevating-new-moms/.

July is Black Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. We also encourage you to consider ways in which you can address inequities for Black moms and birthing people for whom many of the aforementioned disparities impact.



  1. Ohio Department of Health Infant Vitality Statistics: https://odh.ohio.gov/know-our-programs/infant-vitality
  2. Ohio Department of Health Racial Disparities Snapshot: https://odh.ohio.gov/know-our-programs/pregnancy-associated-mortality-review/reports/racial-disparities
  3. Ohio Department of Health 2020 Infant Mortality Annual report: https://odh.ohio.gov/know-our-programs/infant-and-fetal-mortality/reports/reports


2023-07-31T13:00:24-04:00July 31st, 2023|Uncategorized|

Get Ready for the Summer Crisis Program and Score a Swag Bag!

Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes the need to stay cool and comfortable. We understand that some of you may face challenges in keeping your homes adequately cooled during the scorching months. That’s why we are thrilled to announce the Summer Crisis Program 2023, starting on July 3!

Through the Summer Crisis Program, you can receive an air conditioner and/or fan. To learn if you’re eligible, schedule an in-person visit or a phone interview.

To make this year’s program even more exciting, we have prepared something special for you.

Introducing the SCP Summer Swag Bag!

What’s in the swag bag, you ask? Well, it’s a surprise! But rest assured, it’s filled with fantastic goodies that are sure to put a smile on your face. Think branded stress balls, chapstick, ice/heat packs, and other fun knick-knacks we’ve carefully curated just for you.

Here’s what you need to do to receive your SCP Summer Swag Bag:

  1. Schedule your appointment, either in person or by phone, between July 3 and July 14.
  2. Submit a completed application.

To make your appointment and secure your Swag Bag, call 614-969-0978 today!

Our friendly team is ready to assist you and answer any questions you may have. Stay tuned for more updates and information on how we can make this summer a comfortable and enjoyable one for everyone in our community.

2023-06-26T14:20:37-04:00June 26th, 2023|HEAP|

Perinatal Nicotine Cessation

According to a recent review of maternal and infant wellbeing, “smoking in pregnancy constitutes the largest remediable risk factor for maternal and child health.”1 Because smoking is a risk factor that can be altered, cessation initiatives for those who are pregnant have the potential to positively impact both maternal and child health. Approximately 16% of women and birthing persons in the United States smokes tobacco2.

Obstetrical complications including placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, hemorrhage, and ectopic pregnancy are among the most common complications for birthing people during pregnancy. Pulmonary conditions such as asthma, birth defects of the mouth, increased irritability, bone fractures, breastfeeding difficulties, childhood obesity, and sudden unexpected infant death syndrome (SUIDS) are among the most common birth and health complications for children with nicotine exposure.1  Parents from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, who are unmarried or has a partner who smokes, who are heavy to moderate smokers, and who have a high school diploma or less are more likely to use nicotine during pregnancy. Those most likely to continue smoking during the postpartum period are parents who have exposure to second-hand smoke in the home, are formula feeding, did not intend to quit smoking long-term prior to pregnancy, have concerns about weight gain, and have stressors during pregnancy that worsen due to a lack of support.4

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that successful nicotine cessation strategies for those who are pregnant and postpartum will require providers to address these factors and the psychosocial stressors occurring during pregnancy and after birth.5 There is a myriad of stressors that can present for mothers and pregnant people that are specific to the perinatal period including circumstances of their pregnancy, risks for interpersonal violence, financial readiness to support a child, and status of parental leave benefits. Cessation programming and interventions that are specifically designed to support those who are pregnant in trying to quit nicotine must take these things into consideration.

We can improve perinatal nicotine cessation outcomes for moms, birthing people, and babies by doing the following:

  1. Engage in universal screening for nicotine and perinatal mental health conditions that co-occur in those who smoke, vape, or dip.
  2. Offer tangible resources that address psychosocial stressors.
  3. Connect parents with culturally responsive education and treatment options.

Let us work together to partner with organizations who can support this collective effort for the betterment of moms, birthing people, and babies in our community.


  1. Gould, G. S., Havard, A., Lim, L. L., & Kumar, R. (2020). Exposure to Tobacco, Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Nicotine in Pregnancy: A Pragmatic Overview of Reviews of Maternal and Child Outcomes, Effectiveness of Interventions and Barriers and Facilitators to Quitting. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(6), 2034. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17062034
  2. Azagba, S., Manzione, L., Shan, L., & King, J. L. (2020). Trends in smoking during pregnancy by socioeconomic characteristics in the United States, 2010–2017. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-2748-y
  3. Magee, S. R., Bublitz, M. H., Orazine, C. I., Brush, B., Salisbury, A. L., Niaura, R., & Stroud, L. R. (2014). The Relationship Between Maternal–Fetal Attachment and Cigarette Smoking Over Pregnancy. Maternal and Child Health Journal18(4), 1017–1022. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-013-1330-x
  4. Levine, M. D., Cheng, Y., Marcus, M. D., & Kalarchian, M. A. (2012). Relapse to Smoking and Postpartum Weight Retention Among Women Who Quit Smoking During Pregnancy. Obesity, 20(2), 457–459. https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2011.334
  5. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2020). Tobacco and nicotine cessation during pregnancy. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 807. Obstetrical Gynecology, 135, e221–9.
2023-06-05T08:43:29-04:00June 5th, 2023|Dr. Alfred|

School’s Out for Summer

Schools have pretty much wrapped up this school year. Seniors have graduated and elementary students have had their field day. For some youth, summer is a great time to have a part-time job, vacation with their family, or simply enjoy the warm summer days.  Some of our kids will find it a challenge to feed their nicotine addiction away from the school hallways and bathrooms. So, what are we as parents and caregivers supposed to do?  Here are several tips that your child might be vaping.

Have they started becoming more secretive and closing their door more often? This is certainly normal adolescent behavior so each parent or caregiver will have to establish what is normal for their child.   Maybe they are making a lot of excuses to use the restroom or go outdoors. Does their room have a sweet smell and are they using candles or room fresheners to disguise a smell? How about physically, is there a change in their sleeping, or have they developed a raspy cough or have lung infections? Maybe you will see a change in eating habits or having nausea.  The last one, are they more irritable, have more mood swings, or are they anxious.  This could be a sign that they are vaping.

I cannot leave us at just identifying if our child is vaping, I must share several next steps if you believe they may be vaping. First, talk to them. Come to this conversation with concern, not judgment. Listen more than you talk.  Help them develop a plan as to how they can quit. You might want to include their physician in this conversation.  For additional resources, check out Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes.   https://www.parentsagainstvaping.org/

2023-06-05T08:42:04-04:00June 5th, 2023|Bruce Barcelo|

New Quit For Good Class Starting on 6/15

We’re excited to announce a community Quit For Good class will start on June 15th at the Reeb Center located at 280 Reeb Ave. Columbus, OH 43207.

Quit for Good is a FREE, evidence-based nicotine cessation program that gets results by combining best practices including group education and counseling, personalized quit plans and individual follow up. This five-session course will be facilitated by a trained cessation specialist from The Breathing Association.

The sessions for this instance of the course will be from 5:30-6:30pm on the following dates:

Wednesday June 15
Wednesday June 22
Wednesday June 29
Friday July 7
Wednesday July 12

If you are ready to quit, please complete the form below to reserve your spot in our class. You will receive a confirmation email during business hours to confirm your registration.


2023-06-01T08:57:26-04:00June 1st, 2023|Community Classes|

World Tobacco Day is May 31st!

World No Tobacco Day is this month. On May 31st, schools, healthcare professionals, and public health champions from around the world will join together to raise awareness about the devastating impact tobacco products have on our health and our environment. Typically, youth are not moved by numbers, but these may perk their ears up just a bit. Tobacco kills up to half of its users and more specifically, more than 8 million people each year. Over 7 million of those deaths are the result of using a tobacco product while 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

What does interest them are environmental concerns. Here is my “Bruce’s Best” for May. Talk about the environmental impact of tobacco.

  • Scarce available land and water are being used for tobacco cultivation with thousands of hectares of timber being destroyed for tobacco production.
  • 766,571 metric tons of cigarette butts make their way into the environment every year.
  • If you put cigarette litter waste “butt to butt”, it would wrap around the earth 3 times!
  • Vapes create major plastics environmental waste, tech waste, and introduction of toxic chemicals into the environment.

Help our youth find their voice and become advocates for issues that will change the world.

2023-05-02T15:04:25-04:00May 2nd, 2023|Bruce Barcelo|

Maternal Mental Health and Nicotine Cessation

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and for this newsletter, we would like to highlight the importance of promoting maternal mental health for nicotine cessation. According to recent data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, about 50% of women who smoked cigarettes prior to pregnancy continued to smoke during pregnancy.1 Additionally, an estimated 1 in 10 pregnant women smoke during the last trimester of pregnancy.2 An important context to consider is that many people who are pregnant or new parents experience stressors and mental health complications, including depression, anxiety, and trauma that may contribute to unhealthy coping, including nicotine use.3 Parents with lower economic resources, and who were also depressed, are at increased risk for smoking during pregnancy and have a lower likelihood of quitting.1 For mothers and parents who experience emotional and psychological challenges and are trying to quit nicotine without adequate support and resources, the consequences can potentially impact the entire family.

Those of us who work in nicotine treatment understand that the desire to quit does not always translate into immediate behavioral modification. As a psychologist who works in maternal mental health, I advocate that all moms and birthing people have access to individual or group therapy, medication as needed, peer support, and other mental health resources. There are so many life circumstances that make pregnancy and early parenting challenging and there is a need for adequate emotional support. However, mental health resources are not adequate for changing the landscape of maternal mental health, especially as it relates to nicotine treatment.

Support for new parents who have mental health complications or diagnoses and who are also trying to stop using nicotine products requires the use of a systemic approach. In addition to offering nicotine education and mental health resources, it is important for us to understand the unique basic needs of each person we treat. Where there is a lack of basic necessities (e.g., food, housing, finances), an effort must be made to meet these needs. Where there are challenges with life stressors, we must work to help parents find solutions that work for them. These considerations are essential to sustain nicotine cessation initiatives. So, our charge this month is to expand our conceptualization of effective, long-term nicotine treatment interventions, to include, but not be limited to mental health resources and support when needed.



  1. Allen, A. M., Jung, A. M., Lemieux, A., Alexander, A. C., Allen, S. S., Ward, K. D., & Al’Absi, M. (2019). Stressful life events are associated with perinatal cigarette smoking. Preventive Medicine118, 264–271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.11.012
  2. Tong, V. T., Farr, S. L., Bombard, J. M., DʼAngelo, D., Ko, J. Y., & England, L. J. (2016). Smoking Before and During Pregnancy Among Women Reporting Depression or Anxiety. Obstetrics & Gynecology128(3), 562–570. https://doi.org/10.1097/aog.0000000000001595
  3. Jones, A. R., Carter-Harris, L., Stiffler, D., Macy, J. T., Staten, L. K., & Shieh, C. (2020b). Smoking Status and Symptoms of Depression During and After Pregnancy Among Low-Income Women. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing49(4), 361–372. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jogn.2020.05.006
2023-05-03T14:36:53-04:00May 2nd, 2023|Dr. Alfred|
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