Edna’s in OKC Thrives as a Smokefree Hideaway
For decades, Edna’s in Oklahoma City has been a beloved local spot. Known for their famous Lunchboxes, this “five-star dive” attracts customers from all over the country for an evening of darts, appetizers, good times — and smokefree air.
After 40 years, Edna’s officially went smokefree in January 2020. Tammy Lucas, bar owner and daughter of its namesake, Edna Scott, said the decision came after years of listening to customers and employees complain about the smoky atmosphere. “We had wanted to make the change for a long time, and fortunately our recent expansion gave us the perfect opportunity to do so,” said Lucas. “We didn’t want our new building to be covered in nicotine.”
While excited about the change, Lucas, a former smoker herself, was nervous about the public’s reaction. “How do we tell our everyday customers who smoke in there that they’re not going to be able to? We mulled that over for a long time and it was a scary decision to make.”
Most customers loved the change. “We had people tell us, ‘Now we can stay longer,’ which was good to hear. Even the smokers seemed to appreciate the change,” said Lucas. Edna’s expansion also included a new and improved patio space that’s divided by smoking preferences.
Edna’s employees are also grateful for the change. Oklahomans who work in bars and clubs where smoking is permitted are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can have long-lasting health impacts, and it only takes 30 minutes of exposure to cause heart damage similar to that of an everyday smoker. It’s unfair that Oklahomans in the industry have no choice but to put their lives at risk to earn a paycheck.
Clean Indoor Air Policies
Oklahoma is one of only two states in the nation without comprehensive clean indoor air policies, and a majority of Oklahomans support a statewide ban on indoor smoking. Clean indoor air laws are the most effective and cost-efficient way to protect all working Oklahomans from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
We know change can be scary, but there is hope for clean indoor air in Oklahoma. As for Edna’s, the change is here to stay. “We’re happy to provide a space to be smokefree. Before, we were almost alienating nonsmokers. Now we have a space for everyone,” said Lucas.