Citing the importance of customer and employee health, restaurant leaders KFC and Pizza Hut both announced today they will enact a no smoking policy for all company-owned restaurants. KFC and Pizza Hut are divisions of Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum! Brands, Inc.

Beginning next week and on a phased basis, “No Smoking” signs will be placed in all 1,200 KFC and 1,675 Pizza Hut restaurants owned by the company in the United States. The companies will also actively encourage their respective franchise operators to participate in this effort. There are 4,200 KFC franchised restaurants and 4,600 Pizza Hut franchised restaurants in the United States.

The move is in response to the growing concern and heightened awareness of second-hand smoke, lung cancer illness, and recent lung cancer deaths. In a joint statement, Gregg Dedrick and Peter Hearl, presidents of KFC andPizza Hut, respectively, say: “KFC and Pizza Hut are concerned about our customers’ and employees’ health regarding the dangers of second-hand smoke. We are taking this action today to help heighten awareness of second-hand smoke issues raised by the U.S. Surgeon General. In our opinion, going smoke-free is simply the right thing to do.”

“This shows that [KFC and Pizza Hut] are concerned about the health of their employees and customers,” says John Kirkwood, president and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Our experience is that the public embraces smoke-free environments. We hope that others follow their lead.”

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