NMDOH Logo
Home News Albuquerque Residents Support Smokefree Restaurant Patios
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Albuquerque Residents Support Smokefree Restaurant Patios

October 16, 2014 - Tobacco Cessation - Healthy Living

Logo for the free patio of a cigarette in a circle with a fork crossing over it.

Department of Health Announces Voluntary Campaign to Encourage Smoke Free Patios

New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH, announced today that a survey of 3,000 New Mexico residents found that 75 percent of respondents favor restaurant outdoor patios going smokefree.

Secretary Ward also announced today that the Department of Health’s Free the Patio campaign is offering technical assistance and incentives for restaurant and bar owners who voluntarily adopt a smoke free patio. Establishments can receive attractive campaign signage to promote their new, smoke free patios as well as promotion in local magazines and social media if they prefer.

“Second hand smoke can have a devastating impact on a person’s health,” said Secretary of Health Retta Ward. “That’s why we are strongly encouraging restaurants to participate in this voluntary campaign to make their patios smoke free.”

According to the Free the Patio survey, 39 percent of restaurant customers would frequent restaurants more often if dining patios convert to a smokefree environment. So far, 67 restaurants in Albuquerque have smoke free patios. The popular trend among eating establishments has was a natural decision for many of those businesses.

Albuquerque’s Church Street Cafe recently joined the Free the Patio campaign. “It was never really a questions for me. I wasn’t going to allow smoking on my patio,” said Marie Coleman, Owner of Church Street Cafe.

Additional survey findings include:

In an effort to decrease patrons’ and workers’ exposure to secondhand smoke on patios, the New Mexico Department of Health Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program (TUPAC) launched a voluntary policy campaign in 2012 called Free The Patio in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, New Mexico’s two largest cities.
  • 75% of respondents believe New Mexico restaurants patios should be smokefree.
  • More than 1 in 3 New Mexicans surveyed (39%) would dine out more often if all restaurant patios in New Mexico were smokefree.
  • 92% of bar customers surveyed also said they would go to bars and nightclubs at least as often as they do now if all bar and nightclub patios in New Mexico were smokefree.
  • 36% of bar customers surveyed would go to bars and nightclubs more often if all bar and nightclub patios were smokefree.
  • 83% of respondents were non-smokers. This is in line with statewide data that reflects 19.4% of New Mexico’s adult population smokes.

Please read the complete Free the Patio Survey Report for details.


About Free The Patio

The Free The Patio campaign is funded by the New Mexico Department of Health’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control (TUPAC) Program. The campaign’s objective is to protect the health of restaurant patrons and workers by increasing the number of smokefree restaurant and bar patios in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, New Mexico’s two largest cities.

About the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program

Maybe you smoke with morning coffee, or on your breaks at work, or each time you drive. Take advantage of this chance to change your smoking habits and quit, even for one day.

The Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program (TUPAC) works with communities, schools, and organizations across the state to implement activities and services that promote healthy, tobacco-free lifestyles among all New Mexicans, which will reduce tobacco-related illnesses, save lives, and save money.

Visit the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control website for more information.

About Rescue Social Change Group

Rescue Social Change Group manages Free The Patio and is a for-profit behavior change marketing agency providing services in marketing, research, policy change, and strategic planning to execute behavior change efforts nationwide. Clients include local, state, and federal government organizations as well as not-for-profits, schools, and foundations mainly addressing tobacco use, with growing services in violence, binge drinking, and obesity prevention.


Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.


Versión en Español

En un esfuerzo para hacer que nuestros comunicados de prensa sean más accesibles, también tenemos disponibles una versión en español. Por favor presione el enlace de abajo para acceder a la traducción.

Los Residentes de Albuquerque Apoyan los Patios Libres de Humo en Restaurantes