Thursday, November 15, 2001

Smokers get help to quit

Restaurants take part in nationwide smokeout

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        They live in a tobacco state with the highest death rate in the nation from smoking-related diseases.

        But give Northern Kentucky smoke-free advocates credit for trying unusual campaigns for today's 25th annual Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

[photo] Caroline Betas, owner of It's Greek to Me restaurant in Erlanger, is making her restaurant smoke-free today.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        To support patrons who want to try to quit smoking today, 10 Northern Kentucky restaurants that normally allow smoking have volunteered to go smoke-free for a day.

        In Ohio, which boasts the third-highest smoking rate in the nation, seven Hamilton County restaurants have opted to go smoke-free today.

        Besides helping smokers who are trying to quit, the practice benefits the more than half of all Americans who normally choose smoke-free sections when dining out, said Stephanie Creighton, senior health educator for the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

        “It's so uncomfortable if you go out somewhere and you try to eat and there's smoke behind you,” said Caroline Betas.

        As owner of the family-run It's Greek to Me restaurant in Erlanger, Mrs. Betas is participating in the “Smoke-free Day of Dining.”

        The Northern Kentucky Health Department is encouraging its staff and others in the community to patronize Northern Kentucky's “smoke-free for a day” restaurants today, as well as the 44 others that are smoke-free year-round. (For a complete list, check the health department's Web site at

Northern Kentucky

    • It's Greek To Me, 3415 Dixie Highway, Erlanger.
    • Margo's, 404 Pike St., Covington.
    • Double Dragon, 514 Commonwealth Ave., Erlanger.
    • Subway, 405 Scott Blvd., Covington.
    • Subway, 2522 Hazelwood Drive, Fort Mitchell.
    • Fazoli's, 5330 Fuller, Burlington.
    • Chi-Chi's, 7901 Mall Road, Florence.
    • Garzelli's, 8449 Highway 42, Florence.
    • Garzelli's, 3025 Dixie Highway, Edgewood.
    • Sandwich Block, 564 Buttermilk Pike, Crescent Springs.
    • Longhorn Steakhouse at Rookwood Commons, 2692 Madison Road, Norwood.     • Buca Di Beppo at Rookwood Pavilion, 2635 Edmondson Road, Norwood.
    • LaRosa's, 7756 Beechmont Ave., Anderson Township.
    • Uno's, 627 Walnut St. downtown; 7500 Beechmont Ave., Anderson Township; and 342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton.
    • Mount Adams Pavilion bar, 949 Pavilion St., will be smoke-free tonight.

        “In an ideal world, it would be great if (today) would be quit day,” said Lisa Maitre, communications director for the Southwest Ohio region of the American Cancer Society. “I guess the goal would be for smokers to look at The Great American Smokeout as kind of a stepping stone. There are other people quitting at the same time and they can do it with support.”

        Other Tristate smoking cessation efforts include:

        • Putting videos and informational pamphlets on the dangers of smoking in the recreation room of the Golden Towers high rise for Covington's senior citizens and residents with disabilities. Manager Jean Brown also will announce today that the recreation room will soon be smoke-free.

        • Lobbying by the Kentucky Health Investment for Kids campaign — a consortium of health organizations — to raise Kentucky's excise tax on a pack of cigarettes from 3 cents to 78 cents to deter underage smokers. Similar campaigns to raise the excise tax on cigarettes also are being organized by various health groups in Ohio and Indiana.

        • Two teams from the Elsmere-Erlanger soccer club — the Smoke-Free Bears and the Smoke-Free Flames — are taking part in a pilot program sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Independent Health District.

        Financed with a $1,700 grant from the Centers for Disease Control, both teams in the program wore game jerseys with a smoke-free soccer patch and played on smoke-free fields during the just-completed soccer season. Each team member also signed a pledge declaring his intention to stay smoke-free for life, and any coach or parent who smoked agrees to refrain from doing so at games and practices.

        “During soccer drills, after they run sprints, I'll ask, "How many are out of breath?'” said Tim Wilson, coach of the Smoke-free Flames for boys under 10. “Then I say, "Imagine if you are a smoker. This is how difficult it would be for you every day.”

        Tom Vreeland, coach of the Smoke-free Bears for boys 12 and under, said that he can relate to the campaign's message after two grandparents died of lung cancer.

        “When (the players) sign that pledge, it's not a guarantee, but it's in the back of their head when peer pressure comes into play later,” Mr. Wilson said.


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