Smoking Bans Clear Air on Restaurant Patios

starbucks-logoYou can sip your nonfat latte grande on the patio of your local Starbucks without sniffing a bit smoke now that the king-sized coffee-chain has banned smoking within 25 feet of its stores. The ban went into effect June 1.

Those celebrating can also take heart in the fact that Healthy Central Florida (HCF), a community-based organization focused on  making Central Florida the healthiest in the nation, is working hard to reduce cigarette smoke in other dining areas and outside shared public areas.

Jill Hamilton Buss, HCF Executive Director, notes only 11% of Winter Park residents smoke and only 17% of Maitland and other Orange County residents do.  These startlingly positive results were uncovered in a HCF survey conducted by UCF.  It is, she said, great news on which HCF can build.

The organization, founded by Florida Hospital and the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF), gave Central Floridians a taste of smoke-free outdoor dining during its “Health Week” activities in April. The week included a Smoke-Free Weekend at the Winter Park Village. On that weekend, the restaurants Brio, Cheesecake Factory, Lime, PF Chang’s, Pizzeria Valdiano, Sakari Sushi and Truffles made their patios smoke-free.

Many restaurants already are smoke-free. Ms. Hamilton Buss notes Panera Bread has no-smoking patios all of the time, and so does Cheesecake Factory and Jimmy Hula’s, to name a few.

HCF also is working with media and encouraging them to offer “smoke-free” listings – showcasing bars and restaurants that feature smoke-free dining and drinking.

Ms. Hamilton Buss said HCF salutes those who are already non-smoking and encourages all non-smoking patrons to speak up – politely.  Simply ask if the management would consider having a smoke-free patio whenever they’re out and encounter smoke.  If consumers don’t speak up, businesses won’t know of their preferences.  “Together, we can move the needle and expand the places in our community that offer smoke-free breathing,” said Ms. Hamilton Buss. “We want everyone to have the opportunity to breathe easy.”

For more information about HCF and its activities, go to www.healthycentralflorida.org.