Three Brainerd area restaurants are going smoke-free Thursday in honor of the Great American Smokeout.
Perkins, Country Kitchen and the Sawmill Inn will go smoke-free for the day.
This will be the first time the Sawmill Inn, owned by Al and Barb Gmeinder, participates in the Great American Smokeout.
Barb Gmeinder said today that one of the reasons for the restaurant's participation is area communities' move to go smoke free. She also noted the second-hand smoke concerns of other patrons.
"I think it basically comes down to a health issue," Gmeinder said.
American Cancer Society research indicated one puff of cigarette smoke sends more than 4,000 chemical compounds, including 43 different carcinogenic or cancer-causing substances, into the air.
Gmeinder said there is a possibility Brainerd area restaurants could be smoke -free every day.
"I think it's certainly coming," she said.
Country Kitchen owner Kevin Stumpf agrees. This is also the first year Country Kitchen is participating in the smokeout.
"We think in the very near future all restaurants will be non-smoking," Stumpf said, adding the decision to participate this year was to support that idea. A smoker himself, Stumpf said when smoke-free restaurants are a requirement by law, that will put eating establishments on a level playing field.
"For one day to support the smokeout is not a big issue for us and if it does help somebody stop smoking it's a wonderful thing," Stumpf said.
The Great American Smokeout is an international event that started with an idea born not that far from Brainerd.
In 1974, Lynn Smith, Crosby native and former Monticello newspaper publisher, thought one day of non-smoking in the state could be a valuable lesson. Smith created Don't Smoke day, which became known as D-Day, proving local ideas can travel great distances.
Two years later the American Cancer Society adopted the idea with the name the Great American Smokeout and an annual date -- the third Thursday of November. The day is recognized by the World Health Organization as an international non-smoking day. And smokers are encouraged to go one day without lighting up.
Other smoke-free restaurants in the lakes area are: Cousins Subs, Mickey's, Morey's Market and Grille, Northwind Grille, Sibley Station, Scheela's Shanty, Coco Moon, Ivy Room and Pizza Hut in Baxter. A few will offer specials for the Great American Smokeout.
Area restaurant chains that are smoke-free include Subway, Dairy Queen, McDonald's, Taco Bell, Arby's, Burger King and Wendy's.
The Cuyuna Regional Medical Center and St. Joseph's Medical Center will also participate in smokeout activities in the area.
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