One of the last smoke-friendly restaurants in Graham has reversed its policy. K N Rootbeer, a staple of Graham since 1957, decided in January to disallow smoking in the restaurant permanently.

The decision parallels a continuing trend throughout the country, as national drug store CVS announced last week that it would discontinue all tobacco sales throughout its more than 7,600 locations.

 “By going non-smoking we’re trying to be fair to all of our customers,” said Tracey Downey, one of three K N owners. “Some people just can’t breathe when cigarette smoke is present.”

K N owners have given the matter much consideration, and concluded non-smoking was the way to go, adding that in the last few months, several customers have left the dining room because of cigarette smoke.

There are a couple of restaurants in Graham that still allow smoking, including Foy’s on Elm Street, but the vast majority of eating establishments in Graham are now smoke-free. Steve Downey, co-owner of K N Rootbeer, said that the decision to go smoke free was not an easy one.

Siblings Steve, Tracey and Rene Downey all took over the K N restaurant in October of 2006 after father Glen died of heart attack. The three initially thought it might turn away some customers, but are ultimately happy with the results so far.

Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.