Breathe Free Winter Park Launches

BreatheFree00364If you’re looking for a place to have a pleasant, outdoor, smoke-free meal or beverage, there are some 30 local restaurants ready and willing to serve you, and it’s likely more will join them thanks to the launch of Breathe Free Winter Park (BFWP).

BFWP, a voluntary campaign created by Healthy Central Florida (HCF) to encourage smoke-free dining on restaurant patios, made its official debut in late April during a launch event at Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen in Winter Park. The launch included an invitation to all Winter Park restaurants and residents to join the BFWP movement.

Partnering with HCF on the initiative are the American Lung Association, the Park Avenue Merchant’s Association, Florida Hospital, the Winter Park Health Foundation and nearly 30 restaurants.

Opening the event, Jill Hamilton Buss, HCF Executive Director, noted only 10 percent of Winter Park residents smoke, adding all over America, smoking rates are dropping as awareness rises of the serious health risks from secondhand smoke.

Other speakers offering support for initiative included Winter Park’s Vice Mayor Sarah Sprinkel, Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen president and CEO, Jonathan Smiga, Winter Park Chamber President, Patrick Chapin; and Outback Steakhouse Manager, Kirsten Terrell.

Why smoke-free patios? Ms. Hamilton notes smoking can not only ruin a great meal, but 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? BFWP has developed a toolkit for restaurants that choose to go smoke-free. Free staff training, promotional materials, and more are available to interested restaurants. Ms. Buss said residents are simply encouraged to speak up. If someone lights up, speak up. Politely let the manager know that the smoke is bothersome. If managers don’t know you prefer smoke-free dining, they are less likely to make the switch.

For more information, including a list of local restaurants with smoke-free patio dining, visit HCF’s website. You can also visit the BFWP Facebook page.