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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Oxygen bar benefits users; regulation unnecessary

    Oxygen bars should not have to operate under the same regulations as the cannabis industry.

    Regulations by the Food and Drug Administration classify substances used for breathing and administered by another person as a prescription drug, even if it’s just oxygen. Although the FDA has left enforcement of prescription drug laws up to individual states, allowing some oxygen bars to become licensed, they are technically in violation of FDA regulations.

    Recently, Tucson opened its first oxygen bar, Breathe, Drink, and Design. It is bizarre to think about oxygen being considered a prescription drug.

    People breathe oxygen naturally because it’s everywhere. The air in Earth’s atmosphere isn’t pure oxygen, so oxygen bars provide breathing tubes of pure oxygen, which some users say provide a high. But asking for an oxygen prescription is like prescribing and regulating the distribution of pure water.

    On a daily basis, we inhale a minimal amount of oxygen. Breathe, Drink, and Design brings up that oxygen level while keeping it under the prescription oxygen level of 90 percent.

    “It blows people away that you’re breathing only 21 percent oxygen,” said Rafael Casillas, a graphic designer and employee at Breathe, Drink and Design. “Here it brings it up to about 60 percent.”

    Casillas’ brother owns Breathe, Drink, and Design and works by his side during the week.

    According to Breathe, Drink, and Design’s website, oxygen bars first took off in Japan, Mexico and South America. These were all places where people were concerned about the air pollution and craved cleaner air. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that the oxygen bar craze hit North America.

    It is easy to tell that the U.S. has an air pollution problem just by looking at Arizona’s beautiful sunsets or trying to see the mountains through the smog in California.

    The oxygen provided at Tucson’s bar can be unscented, filtered through purified water, or a variety of scented choices. While some oxygen bars offer massages and an array of healthy foods, Breathe, Drink, and Design offers its customers a selection of herbal tea blends to help with the relaxation process as well as unique graphic design work.

    Possible benefits of oxygen bars include an increase in energy and stamina, reduction of stress and muscle tension, increased alertness and focus, quicker recovery after workouts, and, particularly handy for the average college student, alleviation of the symptoms of hangovers, migraines, and sinus problems.

    “It’s a good pick-me-up,” Casillas said. “But I can understand how some may think it will have an effect on them. Everyone reacts differently.”

    Doctors may argue that we breathe in just the right amount of oxygen and inhaling an extra amount is not OK, unless it is medically necessary. But some students smoke cigarettes, marijuana and hookah, so inhaling oxygen is probably a safer habit.

    The pros for oxygen bars outweigh the cons. So, breathe in, drink up and enjoy the design, before this “prescription drug” is outlawed under state regulations.

    — Ashley T. Powell is a journalism sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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