Maxine’s Tap Room honored for smoke-free efforts

Photo by Todd Gill
A ‘Proud to be Smoke Free’ banner hangs outside Maxine’s Tap Room on Block Avenue in Fayetteville.

The Northwest Arkansas Tobacco Free Coalition this week announced it has awarded Maxine’s Tap Room and owner Andrea Foren with the 2011 NWA Smoke-Free Business of the Year Award.

The award is given periodically to businesses who coalition officials believe go above and beyond efforts towards protecting their employees and patrons from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

“I am very passionate about smoke-free environments,” said Foren in a news release. “Not only does it protect my heath, it also protects the health of my employees and will hopefully encourage my thirsty patrons to stop smoking.”

Foren, who assumed ownership of the bar after founder Maxine Miller’s death in 2006, turned the bar into a smoke-free establishment in May 2010. “It was exactly four years after her death, and I did it in honor of her,” said Foren, MIller’s great niece.

“Very few people knew she was diagnosed with emphysema in her late sixties,” she said, adding that she believes Miller’s death was likely a direct result from her many years of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

“I was excited to hear of Andrea’s decision to make Maxine’s smoke-free,” said Tyler Clark, Project Coordinator for the NWA Tobacco Free Coalition. “Not only do smoke-free policies protect patrons and employees from secondhand smoke, it encourages people to quit smoking.”

According to Clark, past recipients of the award include Collier’s Drug Store, Target and Taste of Thai.

In honor of the World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day, a celebration of the award is planned for Tuesday night, May 31 inside Maxine’s Tap Room on Block Avenue in Fayetteville. Light appetizers will follow a brief presentation which is set for 7 p.m.

Other bars to voluntarily go smoke-free in Fayetteville recently include Crown Pub, Smoke & Barrel Tavern, Sideways and Speakeasy.

However, if a current proposal to expand the city’s smoking ban is approved on June 7, all bars in Fayetteville must become smoke-free by Jan. 2, 2012.