SmokeFree Summit gains momentum |

SmokeFree Summit gains momentum

FRISCO – More than 100 people attended SmokeFree Summit’s fundraiser at Ti Amo Ristorante on Wednesday night in support of Referred Measure 1B, which would ban smoking in public areas in unincorporated Summit County.

Event attendees made financial contributions to the campaign, wrote letters to newspapers and councilmembers, bid on 57 silent auction items and signed up on volunteer lists while enjoying an abundant Italian buffet.

SmokeFree Summit’s co-chair, Don Parsons, was encouraged by the growing momentum surrounding the campaign.

“We were expecting around 50, maybe 75 (attendees),” he said. “We ended up with 107, which made for very cozy seating. We’re quite energized.”

Parsons, a former physician and former Denver Medical Society President, said the funds raised Wednesday evening will be used to educate the community about the dangers of second-hand smoke in the remaining six weeks before the election.

“Eighty-five percent of indoor, environmental tobacco smoke comes from the burning end of the cigarette without ever being filtered,” said Parsons. “The worst of it is invisible and odorless. The most state-of-the art ventilation systems can rid of the stuff you can see and smell, but can’t remove the really harmful stuff.”

One of the educational tools the group will use is a float in the Summit High School homecoming parade on Oct. 4. Some SHS students who attended the fundraiser proposed the idea.

As SmokeFree Summit prepares for election day, the group expects the county to be inundated with ads placed by the tobacco industry.

“In other communities that have led initiatives like ours, the tobacco industry has disguised itself under names like “Coalition for Clean Indoor Air,’ or gets their message out through the restaurant associations. In the 1990s they said that hospitality associations were the best ways to get at the grassroots.”

Tut Stork, owner of Ti Amo, is neutral on the ballot measure.

“You can make the decision yourself to be smoke-free, or you can wait for the government to tell you to do it,” Stork said. “We have been smoke-free since our creation in 1999. We respect food and flavor, just like they do in Italy, and we don’t want smoke to interfere with that.”

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998 or

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