Despite what may have been a risky move for JD Legends restaurant and bowling alley in Nicholasville to ban all smoking inside the building, owner Wasfi Samaan said business has never been better.
“I should have done this years ago,” Samaan said. “I think everyone is better for it; I feel better; my employees feel better and are more productive, and when we come home after a long day, we all don’t smell or feel like we smoked 40 packs of cigarettes.”
The move by Samaan to make the bowling alley/restaurant a smoke-free environment was a voluntary change because Jessamine County, like many others in the state, has still not enacted laws that prohibit tobacco use indoors.
The decision to go smokeless also caught the eye of Jamie Bloyd, who works with Smoke-Free Kentucky. Bloyd and other workers held a night of bowling at JD Legends to raise funds and awareness Friday night.
“I read about what Wasfi did, and I was really impressed,” Bloyd said. “We go all over the state to raise these issues, and it’s really encouraging to see a business owner take the initiative and do it on their own.”
Bloyd said when she heard about the move, it inspired her to hold a smoke-free celebration night at JD Legends. For two hours, Smoke-Free Kentucky supporters enjoyed bowling and shoe rentals for only $12 with 50 percent of the proceeds donated to Smoke-Free Kentucky.
“Even if we don’t raise a lot, we raise awareness and that’s important in a community like this,” Bloyd said.
Smoke-Free Kentucky is a coalition of organizations and individuals focused on making all indoor workplaces and public places in Kentucky smoke-free.
The group plans by 2013 to pass a smoke-free law in the Kentucky state legislature, but it starts with business like JD Legends to make those changes and pave the way, Bloyd said.
The new director of the Jessamine County Health Department, Randy Gooch, agreed and said it was very encouraging for a business such at JD Legends to make the first step.
“I’m still new to the county, but these are steps in a positive direction,” Gooch said. “It’s why I brought my own family out here tonight. I encourage people like Mr. Samaan and will have to see what the rest of the Nicholasville is like, but I’m very much behind the efforts of Smoke-Free Kentucky and hope more businesses choose to go smoke-free before law is passed and they have to.”
For more information about Smoke-Free Kentucky, www.smokefreekentucky.org or www.facebook.com/smokefreeky.