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Official Press Release

Contact: Carol Schriber

Date: April 1, 2008

On April 2, Lexington, N.C. “Kicks Butts” as four barbeque restaurants voluntarily go smoke-free

RALEIGH – To celebrate Kick Butts Day on April 2, North Carolina tradition will turn on its head as four barbeque restaurants in the “World Capital of Barbeque” go smoke-free for the health of their employees and customers.

“Secondhand smoke’s harmful; it’s a fact of life,” said Tim Myers of John Wayne’s Barbecue. He surveyed his adult customers to ask their opinion about going smoke-free, and 80 percent supported the idea. He explained that going smoke-free is a tough business decision, but one that makes sense for those with asthma, other health problems, and families with children.

“I guess lawmakers aren’t going to do it for us, so some of us restaurants decided to do it together and make a statement,” Myers said.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, nonsmokers regularly exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent. Secondhand smoke exposure is associated with an increased risk of stroke, and an increased risk of having a low birth-weight baby among pregnant women.

“The Surgeon General makes it clear that the debate is over; secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard, causing disease and early death among North Carolinians who do not smoke,” said Sally Herndon Malek, head of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch, N.C. Division of Public Health.

“We applaud these restaurant owners and managers who are taking steps to protect the health of their employees and customers. We know that 23 state governments, hundreds of local governments, and many countries around the world have made all restaurants and bars smoke-free, and we look forward to that same protection for all North Carolina restaurant and bar workers and customers.”

Davidson County Health Department health educator Jen Hames started working with the Lexington restaurants as part of a smoke-free dining campaign, to offer a healthier environment in the county for those who eat out.

“The health department started working with restaurants about two years ago, to encourage them to go smoke free, Hames said. “ We became concerned about the volume of smoke that employees are constantly exposed to throughout the day.”

“If the restaurants go smoke free on the same day,” Hames continued, “it puts them equally on the same playing field.”

In recent years, several of the barbeque restaurants in Lexington have gone smoke-free voluntarily, and have seen the benefits in happier, healthier employees and customers.

Now that four more have agreed to go smoke-free on April 2, a tradition of tasty food that has its roots in Lexington-style pork barbeque can be paired with cleaner, healthier air.

The Lexington barbeque restaurants going smoke-free on April 2 are John Wayne’s Barbecue, Smokey Joe’s Barbecue, the Barbeque House and Whitley’s Restaurant.

The barbecue restaurants that were already smoke-free are Backcountry BBQ, The Barbecue Center, Lexington Barbecue, and Henry James Family Dining.

Lexington-style North Carolina pork barbeque is known the world over as among the best. What makes it unique is the way it is prepared, pit-cooked over hickory wood and then mixed with a vinegar-based sauce.

Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, is a day for young people to learn about the dangers of tobacco and speak up for smoke-free policies and tobacco-free lifestyles.





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