In Feb. 19 IssueBy Kim GrahamTimes Journal Reporter
As of February 1st, Wendy's in Russell Springs, in the interest of public health, voluntarily chose to go smoke free.
"I think it's going well," said Wendy's Assistant Manager, Amy Collins. "better than I expected especially with the employees."
Out of 16 Wendy's employees, nine are smokers. The new smoke free policy means that employees may only smoke at an outside smoking area designated away from the building or in their cars.
Collins says she was a smoker until about month ago when she decided to quit.
Now, Collins says she is supporting other fellow employees who are trying to quit smoking.
Employees have local health agencies in their corner assisting them to drop the smoking habit.
Russell County Partners in Prevention and the Russell County Health Department are working with Wendy's to assist them in the transition to a non-smoking facility.
"We set aside funds specifically for vouchers to purchase nicotine patches," said Ashley Anderson with Partners in Prevention. "For employees at Wendy's that want to quit smoking, we will provide these patches to help them quit."
The Russell County Health Department provided no smoking signage for the restaurant and training for the staff in methods to make the transition go smoothly.
In addition to visiting the store to check in on their progress, Shirley Roberson, Russell County Health Department Health Educator, also administers a weekly class to help smokers kick the habit.
"Wendy's management has said they will schedule employees' shifts to allow them to attend Cooper Clayton Classes," said Roberson.
The one hour class is held each Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Russell County Hospital Administration building and is free to anyone who wants to quit smoking.
"The class helps those who want to quit smoking to realize they are in control," Roberson said. "Attendees are also able to observe others who are succeeding and receive encouragement from them."
Bobby Stephens of Russell Springs had smoked 40 years and quit a year and a half ago with the help of the local Cooper Clayton classes.
"You have people there helping and supporting you," said Stephens. "They explained different things I could do to quit smoking. If a person wants to quit, I'd recommend them to go to the class."
More and more people agree smoke free air is good for health and good for business.
"I had a customer comment that he was so glad that we went smoke free," said Collins. "I think more people like it than not."
Sandy Lawson and her grandchildren Kolby and Sydney agree they are enjoying the clean air in Wendy's.
"I like the smoke free Wendy's," said Lawson. "I never smoked and I don't like to be around it.
Probably we'll come back more since it's smoke free."
Even Lawson's second grade aged granddaughter understands that smoking and secondhand smoke is harmful to people's health.
"It's bad," said Sydney. "It will give you a heart attack."
Local support is making it simple for the restaurant transition to smoke free dining.
"So far, it hasn't affected our business," said Collins. "We're just as busy as we always have been."