A group of local students wants a local bowling alley to stamp out smoking. The bowling alley's owner worries that losing smokers will also mean his business will be losing money. The local youth group organization is Question Y, which promotes tobacco prevention in the community. The group is presenting the case for going smoke-free to the owner of Cardinal Lanes Bowling Alley. John Russell, Laney High School Student, said, "It's not very pleasant because of the smoke. It's just not fun to be around." New Hanover High School student Kaitlyn Reynolds said, "This is a very youth friendly place and usually they have birthday parties that are like two hours, and two hours of exposure is an irregular heartbeat, so we just want to bring awareness to him." Armed with a petition with more than 150 signatures of people wanting the bowling alley to go smoke free, the group is hoping the owner will change his policy. Cardinal lanes owner Ron Schnell doesn't smoke, and says he would love to go smoke free, but when it comes down to dollars and cents, going smoke free doesn't add up. "There's no question your business will decrease. If you can sustain the hit long enough, typically most centers take three to five years to recoup back to where they were, but long-term after that typically you'll do as well or better, but that adjustment period is tough," said Schnell. Schnell said his business is moving in the right direction by designating three days out of the week where no smoking is allowed before 6 p.m. The students hope he'll continue to head in a smoke-free direction -- not just some days, but everyday. Schnell hopes the state will mandate every public venue be smoke-free so it will make the transition easier. The three bowling alleys in Wilmington all permit smoking.
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