Health Notes: Former owner of Moose Lake cafe recognized for role in promoting smoke-free lawsThe former owner of a Moose Lake cafe is cited in a 24-page report on tobacco use in rural communities released this month by the American Lung Association.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
The former owner of a Moose Lake cafe is cited in a 24-page report on tobacco use in rural communities released this month by the American Lung Association.
In the portion of the report on success stories, Romelle Jones is credited with championing the Moose Lake smoke-free ordinance in 2000 that spread to other cities, including Duluth, and eventually went statewide.
The restaurant, the Arts Cafe, has been the social hub of Moose Lake for several generations, the report said, and also was once known as the smokiest venue in town. But after both of her parents died of lung cancer, Jones was ready for a change. When approached by the American Lung Association of Minnesota, she agreed to support the effort to pass a local smoke-free ordinance by making her restaurant smoke-free.
Although some locals warned her that the restaurant surely would go out of business, it actually thrived, the report said.
“A few years later, Ms. Jones retired and sold her restaurant after enjoying its most profitable year ever,” the report continued.
Titled “Cutting Tobacco’s Rural Roots: Tobacco Use in Rural Communities,” the report says tobacco use is higher in rural communities than in suburban and urban communities and that rural youth are more likely to use tobacco and to start earlier than urban youth.
But it points to some successes in Minnesota: youth tobacco use dropping by 30 percent for high school students and 45 percent for middle school students since 2000.