On April 27th at 10am Breathe Free Winter Park made its official debut at Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen, with an invitation to all Winter Park restaurants and residents to join the Breathe Free Winter Park movement.
Several distinguished guests came out to support the initiative. Vice Mayor Sarah Sprinkel, Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen president and CEO, Jonathan Smiga; Chamber President, Patrick Chapin; and Outback Steakhouse Manager, Kirsten Terrell showed up, spoke up and offered support of this voluntary health initiative.
Johnny Rivers, Founder of the popular 4 Rivers Smokehouse and The Coop offered this perspective, “I believe smoking is a personal choice and have no intent of compromising that freedom. That very same freedom is the reason I favor smoke-free public areas. When smokers light-up, they subject everyone around them to second-hand smoke and in so, rob non-smokers of the very freedom of choice they themselves are fighting for.”
What is Breathe Free Winter Park? It is a completely voluntary campaign created by Healthy Central Florida to encourage smoke-free patio dining at restaurants. Partnering on the effort is the American Lung Association, the Park Avenue Merchant’s Association, Florida Hospital, the Winter Park Health Foundation and 30 restaurants.
Why smoke-free patios? For starters, if you are eating outside on the patio and someone lights up, you can instantly be breathing their unfiltered smoke. This can ruin a great meal and it can also have serious health effects, triggering asthma attacks, migraines or sinus problems. Second-hand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death.
Outback Steakhouse Manager, Kirsten Terrell, said, “For us, it’s about our guests and our Outbackers”. She said they were thinking about the health and comfort of customers and employees when they chose to go smoke-free. A person standing two feet away from a burning cigarette may inhale 10 times the cancer-causing chemicals than the person actually smoking the cigarette. This is because the smoke inhaled by the active smoker is filtered while the smoke inhaled by the non-smoking bystander is not, according to US Department of Health and Human Services.
What happens next? Breathe Free Winter Park has developed a toolkit for restaurants that choose to go smoke-free. We offer staff training, promotional materials, and more – all for free. For residents, we simply encourage them to speak up. If someone lights up, speak up. Politely ask your favorite restaurants to go smoke-free. If they don’t know you prefer smoke-free dining, they are less likely to make the switch.