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National City, National City Chamber awarded for smoke-free strides

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The National City Chamber of Commerce and National City received a joint recognition by the California Clean Air Project (CCAP) for creating smoke-free environments within the business community. CCAP is a nonprofit organization committed to air quality and helps to promote innovative, market-based solutions to major climate, air quality and energy problems that balance both environmental and economic interests.

The nomination, put forth by Katt Eaton of the Institute for Public Strategies, highlights the chamber’s capacity for the integration of successful business models and healthy communities.

“The National City Chamber demonstrates an exceptional example for South Bay in its smoke-free outdoor dining efforts,” said Eaton.

CCAP representatives presented the award on June 1 at the City Council meeting.

The recognition is due to restaurant owners who brought their concerns forward about the effect of secondhand smoke on patrons of their outdoor patios. They recognized their customers by-and-large expected a smoke-free dining experience, whether seated indoors or outdoors.

This wasn’t a new issue; in the past restaurant owners have attempted to adopt voluntary, business-by-business smoke-free outdoor dining policies, but continued to suffer from drifting secondhand smoke from adjacent outdoor dining patios that didn’t have such policies. Through frank and open discussions about the issue and its effects on customer retention and expansion, city and restaurant leaders studied municipal-level, smoke-free outdoor dining policies from around the region and their positive outcomes. In May 2009, National City adopted smoke-free outdoor dining. Not long after, the city of Los Angeles and San Francisco followed suit.

Ryan Perry, chairman of the board of the National City Chamber of Commerce, was pleased to receive the award.

“The National City Chamber of Commerce is proud to be recognized as a leader by CCAP. We continue to believe that the business community has a significant opportunity to partner with local government to enhance both economic opportunity as well as quality of life initiatives,” Perry said.

This is a case where successful business practices supported positive public health outcomes.

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