You Know What’s Really Scary?

With Halloween around the corner, there are more than goblins and ghosts to be concerned with. In preparation for a local television interview last week, I visited a vape shop known to sell to youth.  I was able to purchase three devices that researchers point out are very scary. The first was a “Ghost” vape that had THC. Researchers are telling us that youth are often using a THC vape product without knowing it has THC. That my friends is very scary!  I was able to purchase a “VAPIN DONUTS” with the flavor, Juicy Fruit Bubblegum. We had our twin granddaughters for the weekend, and I showed them these devices. When they saw this one, they said, “That smells so good!”  They are sixth graders, tell me that isn’t scary! The last one is from “SNOOPYSMOKE”.  The flavor is “Black Ice” which means it has mint or menthol. Research tells us that many disposable products add mint or menthol and use the code words ice, cool, freeze, and other names describing mint and menthol. But that isn’t even the most concerning issue of the Snoopsmoke. It has 15,000 puffs. This is the highest puff count I have found available to date. This is the equivalent of 7 ½ packs of cigarettes or 150 cigarettes. This is very scary because a youth doesn’t know when to stop using it.  

The FDA MUST take action and stop this nightmare.  

2023-10-13T14:18:57-04:00October 13th, 2023|Bruce Barcelo|

Mental Health and Nicotine Addiction

Nicotine addiction and mental health problems often go hand-in-hand. Nicotine acts on the brain and can change mood, thinking, and behavior. Over time, the brain gets used to nicotine and needs it to feel normal. When someone tries to quit nicotine, they can feel anxious, sad, crabby, and have trouble focusing. This can make any mental health problems worse. 

Research shows that people with conditions like depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are more likely to smoke and get addicted to nicotine. 

  • People with mental health conditions smoke about 1 in 3 of all cigarettes smoked by adults (CDC 
  • Adults with mental illness smoke nearly 40% of all cigarettes in the United States (American Lung Association):   
  • Individuals diagnosed with mental health disorders (depression or bipolar disorder) are 2-3 times as likely to be current smokers than individuals without mental health disorders (American Psychiatric Association).   
  • Smoking rates are 3-4 times higher among those with schizophrenia compared to the general population (National Institute of Mental Health 

Don’t think that vaping is a healthier option. There is emerging research on the connections between mental health and vaping: 

  • The rates of teen vaping are 2-3 times higher among those with mental health disorders (NIDA) 
  • Analysis of a national survey showed that adults who vape regularly are about twice as likely to suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions compared to non-vapers (Truth Initiative). 
  • For those already struggling with mental health disorders, vaping may exacerbate symptoms just like traditional cigarette smoking (CDC). 
  • With more research emerging, experts theorize that high nicotine concentrations in some vape juices may negatively impact mental health, especially in teens whose brains are still developing (CDC). 

Sadly, there are a few reasons for this: 

  • Nicotine may help some mental health symptoms feel better for a short time. But it does not treat the actual problem. 
  • Mental health issues can make it hard to control urges and quit smoking. 
  • Smoking may be more accepted around psychiatric patients and healthcare providers. This reinforces the habit. 
  • Some mental health medications and nicotine do not mix well. This can make quitting harder. 
  • Genes and environment may play a role in both mental illness and smoking. 

Quitting smoking can improve mental health over time. Withdrawal goes away after a few weeks. Brain receptors become more responsive, easing anxiety and depression. Quitting also eliminates smoking health risks like cancer. 

People with mental illness who smoke can use nicotine gum, patches, sprays to manage withdrawal. In fact, nicotine replacement therapy, though not risk-free, is safer than smoking. Research shows that they can double the chances of successfully quitting, regardless of mental health status (Cochrane Review). Combine these treatment options with professional support, like that at The Breathing Association, and a personal drive, even those with mental illness can quit smoking or vaping and gain the mental benefits. 

2023-10-13T14:09:15-04:00October 13th, 2023|Uncategorized|

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:

Looking to have The Breathing Association bring the Kick The Nic program to your school or youth organization? Click here to find out more:

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:

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:
  2. Ohio Department of Health Racial Disparities Snapshot:
  3. Ohio Department of Health 2020 Infant Mortality Annual report:


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.
  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).
  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.
  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.
  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.

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|
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