No SmokingAre you going to have an opportunity to see the Olympic Trials out in Eugene this Summer? If so, then you may be in a for a treat.

The University of Oregon and the local Olympic organizing committee have pledged to make the trials a tobacco free event, meaning that you shouldn’t have to deal with any second hand smoke anywhere near Hayward Field or the blocks between 15th and 18th streets.

Laura Hammond, Public Health Educator in the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program of the Lane County Public Health Department helped to promote the idea of a tobacco-free event. “As a part of the overall state tobacco prevention program, our goals are to reduce youth initiation of tobacco use, support cessation, and eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke. Establishing tobacco-free events actually helps accomplish all three of these goals.”

I think that this is a great idea, which is not too surprising due to my lack of an addiction to nicotine and that I grew up asthmatic. When Maine decided to go smoke-free in restaurants and bars a few years ago, I was against it. Then it happened, and everything improved from the patron’s experience to the employee’s experience to revenues of individual establishments, and I no longer hold onto my outdated opinions there.

Unfortunately, if you do go out for a drink outside of the tobacco free zones, patrons are still able to smoke in bars and certain other establishments in Oregon. That will change come January 1st of 2009, but for the time being smoking is still allowed.

(Further Reading: Eugene ’08)