Margarita Grill in Pelham going smoke-free May 10
Published 9:46 am Monday, April 4, 2016
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM—As of May 10, Margarita Grill off Cahaba Valley Road in Pelham will go smoke-free, banning smoking of any kind— cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaporizers— from its restaurant and patios.
Margarita Grill co-owner Javier Jerez met with the Smoke Free Pelham organization March 31 and explained that he wanted “to provide a healthy environment for everyone involved” at his restaurant.
This isn’t the first restaurant to join the smoke-free effort, according to Tina Castello, one of the founders of Smoke Free Pelham. Since the group started the campaign, Texas Roadhouse and Cozumel Grill in Pelham have both gone smoke free.
“The way I see it is the restaurants are having to make that decision on their own to provide a healthier environment for their employees and their customers, because the city is not making the decision for them,” Castello said.
According to Castello, the owners of those two restaurants free stated they didn’t want their employees breathing in second-hand smoke as they served tables. Even separate smoking sections in restaurants don’t help, she said, because there is no true separation.
Castello said as of January 2015, there are 27 communities in Alabama that are 100 percent smoke-free, including Birmingham and Vestavia Hills. Nine of those also include restrictions on electronic cigarettes.
“What Smoke Free Pelham wants to accomplish is for the city of Pelham to pass a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance,” Castello said. “Comprehensive means no smoking in any public places or spaces. That includes regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping because they are all dangerous.”
She explained that there is also a large push for a Smoke Free Alabama to protect people from second-hand smoke statewide.
The biggest opponents to the smoke free campaign in Pelham are two bars within the city, Castello said. She explained that they are afraid of losing business, stating that the owner claims he would lose 80 percent of his business by going smoke free.
About 83 percent of the population does not smoke, according to Castello, so only 17 percent does.
“What he doesn’t realize is he is going to open his business up to the 83 percent of the population,” she said. “The majority of the population don’t want to frequent an environment where they are going to breathe in second-hand smoke.”
While the goal remains making Pelham a smoke-free city, Castello and other members of Smoke Free Pelham said they are happy Margarita Grill is joining the movement.
“We are excited because we love this place,” Castello said.
For more information on Alabama smoke-free policies, visit Adph.org.