Every year the American Cancer Society says nearly 450 thousand people die prematurely from smoking, and at least 38 thousand Americans are killed by second hand smoke. It is statistics like these and pressure from non-smokers that have many restaurants like the Okemos Big Boy going smoke free.
The Okemos Big Boy joins 633 of Ingham County's 898 restaurants as smoke free. While becoming a non-smoking establishment makes this restaurant part of the majority, for its owner, Bill Haddad, it was a very personal decision.
"My father died October 22 from lung cancer. Second hand smoke hurts people. We want to give people a place where they can enjoy their meal without smelling smoke," he says.
Customers and workers are giving mixed reactions to the change. Some customers say they will go to other restaurants where they can light up, but others say this is a draw. Mr. Haddad says one worker quit because there would be no smoking at work. However, cook Ronald Seaton, who is also a smoker says this is an opportunity, "It gives me a chance to cut down and eventually stop smoking all together. My son is asthmatic, so I can't smoke at home, I can't smoke at my other job, and now I can't smoke here."
The restaurant started the change on Thursday, November 16Th. It is the day of the American Cancer Society's 30Th annual Great American Smoke-out. For more information on the Great American Smoke Out, and for tips to help you quit smoking go to www.cancer.org.