|May 31, 2002
4,000 ILLINOIS RESTAURANTS NOW SMOKE-FREE
SPRINGFIELD, IL More than 4,000 restaurants in Illinois have chosen to be smoke-free since 2000 when the state launched the Illinois Smoke-Free Restaurant Recognition Program, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today announced.
"This program has helped identify restaurants with a smoke-free environment that the more than 75 percent of the population who do not smoke can enjoy and it also provides a list of dining establishments that children and adults who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases can safely patronize," Dr. Lumpkin said.
Dr. Lumpkin emphasized the importance of these voluntary smoke-free policies in conjunction with today's observance of World No Tobacco Day. World No Tobacco Day, which was created by the World Health Organization in 1988, raises awareness of the international impact of tobacco use and promotes a tobacco-free environment.
The first smoke-free restaurant certificates where awarded in May 2000 and, this week, the 4,000th certificate was awarded to Jim and Rose Passo, owners of Pizza Cucina in South Elgin, which opened in 2002.
"Our patrons have expressed their appreciation of our efforts to provide them with a healthier dining environment," said Jim Passo. "I encourage all restaurant owners and managers to seriously consider adopting a smoke-free policy."
The Department began the Illinois Smoke-Free Restaurant Recognition Program to highlight restaurants in Illinois that have voluntarily gone smoke-free, to provide information about restaurants that are smoke-free and to raise public awareness of the dangers of second-hand smoke.
"This program offers an important way for eating establishments to contribute to a changing social norm with regard to smoking that also has the benefit of reducing a preventable public health risk to nonsmoking adults and children," Dr. Lumpkin said.
In Illinois, 2,650 nonsmokers die each year from disease caused by inhaling second-hand smoke and 19,000 smokers die from smoking-related illnesses. The U.S. Surgeon General reported in 2000 that second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, of which, at least 43 are known to cause cancer.
"Scientific evidence has found that tobacco smoke, whether inhaled from one's own cigarette or someone else's cigarette, causes lung cancer, heart disease and other diseases and is responsible for respiratory illnesses and increases the severity of asthma attacks," Dr. Lumpkin said.
For more information about the smoke-free restaurant program or for a listing of smoke-free eating establishments, visit the Department's Web site: www.idph.state.il.us.
Individuals interested in having a restaurant go smoke-free should encourage restaurant owners to consider adopting a smoke-free policy.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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