Breathe Free Winter Park Continues to Gain Momentum

At the height of American’s love affair with cigarettes, nearly 50% of our country puffed a Pall Mall, Marlboro or Winston.

Today, the rate of smoking has steadily declined and is currently about 15% nationwide.  In Maitland, it’s less than half that at 7.3% and in Winter Park, it’s just 10.3%.

Healthy Central Florida (HCF) has a vision that all of our communities will become smoke-free.  As a result, HCF started a pilot program in Winter Park – Breathe Free Winter Park (BFWP) — just over a year ago, and it has already made great progress.

breathe free group

To date, 41 restaurants and bars are voluntarily offering smoke-free air. These include Ravenous Pig, Dexter’s of Winter Park, Outback Steakhouse, Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen, Boshphorous, Cocina 214, 4 Rivers, Panera Bread and many, many more.

Even restaurants that haven’t opened yet, are getting the message and plan to be smoke-free.  This includes “Create Your Nature” on Orange Avenue, a healthy concept that opens this fall.  In Maitland, a similar effort is being made by the owners of Luma as they prepare to open a new restaurant across from Antonio’s.  The owners also declared Prato on Park Avenue as smoke-free.

Additionally, Antonio’s, Jeremiah’s, Haagen Dazs, The Coop and Marlow’s Tavern are also on board. The movement is growing and gaining support because people know there is no amount of safe exposure to second-hand smoke – and quite simply, smoke stinks.  If you’re smelling it, you’re breathing it.

BFWP doesn’t just focus on restaurants, but on all shared or public spaces – parks, campuses, workplaces and apartment complexes too. Did you know buildings are designed to breathe so mold won’t grow?  Therefore, smoke can travel through electrical outlets, under baseboards and through vents between apartments.  If you live next door to a smoker in an apartment, chances are you and your children are breathing their second-hand smoke.

breathe free

That’s why HCF encouraged and applauded the move of the Winter Park Housing Authority (WPHA), which operates five lower income multi-unit housing complexes, when they decided, as of December 31 of this year, to go totally smoke-free!  Kudos to WPHA leadership.

Across the nation many municipalities and even states are seeking bans on smoking in public spaces.  Locally the effort is entirely voluntary, but legal, and is at the discretion of restaurant and apartment managers and owners.

If you dislike smoke and don’t want you or your children breathing it, here’s what you can do. When someone lights up, speak up. Politely let the management know.  Otherwise, they’ll never know the impact on their customers and will carry on business as usual. Let us know if we missed any restaurants that are smoke-free.  (And if you are a restaurant and want to learn more or join the movement, please email jhamiltonbuss@healthycf.org.)

Click here for the current list of restaurants that have joined the Breathe Free movement.  And, “Like us” on Facebook to see restaurants, videos and comments.

HCF is a community-based partnership established by Winter Park Health Foundation and Florida Hospital to transform our community into the healthiest in the nation. Its aim is to get people moving more, eating healthier, feeling better, and enjoying a more vibrant, energized life.