Today, the Long Beach Health Department kicked off "Fresh Air Dining LB," a new program designed to provide smoke-free outdoor dining options for Long Beach residents and visitors in partnership with local business associations, restaurants and community groups.
“Increasing the number of smoke-free areas outdoors provides more healthful environments for families to enjoy in our City,” said Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal, who represents the 2nd District. “Smoke-free outdoor dining will make Long Beach a destination for those individuals who want to live healthy lives and enjoy outdoor dining while avoiding the health effects from tobacco products.”
In Long Beach, all indoor restaurant dining rooms must be smoke-free, and two-thirds of all outdoor dining areas also must be smoke-free. The Fresh Air Dining LB partnership encourages and helps promote restaurants for creating 100 percent smoke-free outdoor dining areas. To date more than 30 restaurants have signed up to participate, and will feature special “Fresh Air Dining LB” signage.
The Fresh Air Dining LB program also encourages the community to show their support of smoke-free patio dining by participating in a series of Smoke-Free Sundays in the three major Long Beach dining districts: Downtown (Nov. 6), Bixby Knolls (Nov. 13) and Belmont Shore (Nov. 20).
According to the results of a survey conducted by the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services in 2011, 80 percent of Long Beach diners prefer to dine at restaurants with smoke-free patios.
“The Downtown Long Beach Associates is proud to partner with other business associations, local restaurants, community members and the Health Department to create cleaner, healthier, and more enjoyable outdoor dining experiences for patrons Downtown and throughout Long Beach,” said Kraig Kojian, President and CEO of the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA).
“Bixby Knolls is very happy to participate in the Fresh Air Dining Program,” said Blair Cohn, Executive Director of the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association (BKBIA). “Bixby Knolls is an active neighborhood and any time the BKBIA can help promote health and wellness and connect it to our businesses we think it is a win-win for everyone.”
"There are so many wonderful places to eat in Long Beach, I'm glad that now families will be able to dine outdoors and enjoy the great weather too,” said Pat Etem, Co-Chair of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Long Beach. "The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Long Beach is excited to have more smoke-free options in Long Beach, and we congratulate the participating restaurants on this public health milestone."
Secondhand smoke exposes smokers and nonsmokers to more than 4,000 toxic substances. Breathing secondhand smoke for even a short time can have immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, interfering with the normal functioning of the heart, blood and vascular systems in ways that increase the risk of heart attacks. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger asthma attacks in persons who already have asthma or other respiratory conditions.
An updated list of participating restaurants is available at www.longbeach.gov/health. For more information, contact Viki Ornelas with the Health Department's Tobacco Education and Prevention Program at 562.570.7950.