Local News

Teens Want Smoke-Free Businesses, Schools

Posted July 12, 2007 8:40 p.m. EDT
Updated July 12, 2007 9:57 p.m. EDT

— A statewide report says nearly one in three North Carolina high school students uses tobacco.

Some teens are on a mission to change that. A group of Northern Nash High School teens is joining other students across the county to ask local teen hangouts to go smoke-free.

They're focusing on restaurants, but their work was a big hit at the Rocky Mount Bowling Center. It has been smoke free since March.

“That’s an awesome idea,” said Lamarr Godwin, a camp counselor. “It’s awesome that you can take a group of kids out to an environment where you don’t have to worry about toxic fumes from smoking or stuff like that.”

The teens also are taking the message to the Board of Education asking for a smoke-free-schools policy.

Not everybody thinks it’s awesome, however.

“This business, if you want to smoke, you smoke,” said Sadk Ali, with Lamama Pizza. “Some people need smoke. If you don’t smoke here, you’re going to go out.”

Some managers say business can suffer if they tell customers not to smoke. Health department officials say the opposite is true.

“Businesses do not lose revenue just because they’re smoke-free,” said Amy Doughtie, with Teen Tobacco Prevention. “In fact, they’re increasing, because the families are coming back.”

Bowling Center officials said they are glad they went smoke-free.

“I'm really glad that we did this. It was a big step for us,” said Kitty Powell, Bowling Center manager.