Campaign aims for smoke-free dining

Two groups seek to have restaurants in Columbia voluntarily prohibit smoking.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:29 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

The Columbia/Boone County Board of Health plans to start an educational campaign with the Boone County Coalition for Tobacco Concerns in hopes of having more restaurants voluntarily become smoke-free.

“If you start looking into the facts of second-hand smoke, it’s hard to believe that people knowing the facts would want to continue to have secondhand smoke in their place,” said Chris Coffman, public health planner for the Columbia/Boone County Board of Health and member of the Boone County Coalition for Tobacco Concerns. “I think we have an intelligent, caring community and once education starts, I would expect results like that from Maryville.”

Coffman said that Maryville’s educational efforts helped increase the number of the city’s smoke-free restaurants to 70 percent before the ban on smoking in restaurants was approved in June.

Maryville is the only city in Missouri to completely ban smoking in restaurants.

Restaurant owners and managers have expressed an interest in knowing more about secondhand smoke.

Linda Cooperstock, co-director of the coalition and member of the board of health, has been conducting a survey, with the help of MU students, about the effects of second-hand smoke.

Several restaurant owners or managers have asked her for more information on the effects of secondhand smoke.

The educational campaign includes sending mailings about secondhand smoke to local businesses, as well as having an informational Web site.

On March 3 the coalition launched a Web page with facts about smoking, a list of Columbia restaurants that are nonsmoking establishments and other related links.

The Columbia Online Information Network at the Daniel Boone Regional Library is helping with the page. COIN offers their services to local not-for-profit organizations.

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