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'Smokeout' Hits Harvard Square

20th Great American Smoke Out Is First Under New City Ordinance

By Jessie M. Amberg

The Tobacco Control Program and Cambridge United for Smoking Prevention distributed anti-smoking literature in Cambridge as part of yesterday's 20th annual Great American Smoke Out, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Workers stationed at "T" stops in Harvard, Porter and Central Squares and at the Cambridge hospital handed out "survival kits" filled with chewing gum, raisins and information on how to quit permanently for smokers who wanted to quit for the day, according to Patricia M. Anderson of the Tobacco Control Program.

A restriction passed by the Cambridge City Council in 1995 requires restaurants with more than 25 seats to make at least 50 percent of them non-smoking.

Although this resolution was a scaled-down version of the bill that was initially presented, local restaurants seem to be taking the recommendations to heart.

"Three or four times a week people will come in and ask if they can smoke, and will leave after we say no," said Patrick M. Lee, the manager of the Grafton Street Pub and Grille, "but [the loss of business] is definitely the lesser of two evils."

The entire dining room at Grafton Street is non-smoking until 11 p.m., after which the only patrons who are admitted are 21 and over.

Under the ordinance, restaurants in the area must post "smoking" and "non-smoking" signs in the appropriate areas, and cannot seat children under age of 12 in smoking areas.

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) became a completely non-smoking restaurant three years ago.

"The safety of our employees as well as that of the other patrons prompted the decision," said CPK manager Buddy B. Stephenson.

Restaurant owners who opposed smoking restrictions have said that they fear decreased revenue due to a loss of patronage. But so far restaurant managers say they have not been affected by the ordinance.

"I don't really think that this business has been affected by [the smoking ordinance]," said Sheila A. Smith, a manager at Upstairs at the Pudding. "Most people say 'great' when we tell them we are a non-smoking restaurant."

Supporters of the original bill had hoped for a much stronger resolution.

"There are no restrictions on bars," said Anderson. "[The ordinance] is not in the best interest of public health.

"There are no restrictions on bars," said Anderson. "[The ordinance] is not in the best interest of public health.

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