Restaurants asked to go smoke free

Restaurants asked to go smoke free

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

On Aug. 24 at Crusader Clinic, 1200 W. State St., youths with a burning desire to stop teen smoking detailed their initiatives in persuading restaurants to keep patrons from lighting up.

At the same time, Mayor Doug Scott commended the I Decide movement, which the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Winnebago County Health Department started in August 2000.

The Kick Ash Bash occurred over an August weekend at the MetroCentre when the movement began last year. At the event, 230 area teens collaborated and came up with several activities in an attempt to convince peers not to smoke.

Their ideas included creating television commercials (filmed at Harlem High) that depict the fictional All Smoke High. Tobacco-addicted students and faculty members cloud the school with smoke, and students who are non smokers are chastised.

The Smoke-Free Restaurant Recognition Program is another concept youths on the I Decide Advisory Panel suggested. Seventy restaurants in the area have extinguished their policy to designate smoking areas. Since this spring, teens have asked restaurants to prohibit smoking.

Youths attempted to persuade restaurants while removing the smokescreen of tobacco dangers by summarizing several points. They are: 77 percent of customers are non-smokers; food is more enjoyable; clean-up costs decrease because the restaurant is free of remnants, such as ashtrays and matches, left behind; and smoke-free air is healthier.

“Smoking in restaurants presents unnecessary health hazards,” said Devan Schmidt, an I Decide member on the Youth Advisory Panel and a Hononegah High School student.

Stockholm Inn is a restaurant that has had a smoke-free policy for four years. Elayne Bilka, owner of the restaurant, said the restaurant has had few problems with the policy. “We can’t afford to lose business,” she said. “On the other hand, we can’t afford to lose lives.”

Interested restaurants should call 972-7264.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!