Michigan Workplace Smoking Ban Revision

16 04 2008

I just moved to Michigan from Illinois and at the beginning of the year, Illinois enacted the Smoke Free Illinois Act which is very similar to a law that is being pushed through the Michigan legislature right now.  The Smoke Free Illinois Act bans smoking in all public places including bars, restaurants, and casinos.

I know this is controversial.  I know this borders on constitutional rights, but let me tell you from first hand experience, this is one of the greatest things to ever come out of the Illinois legislature.  I eat out more thanMichigan State Capitol most people, but once this law went into effect, it made dining out so much better.  You could go to a pub after work or for lunch and not have to worry about your suits soaking up that cloud of smoke.  Ther have been some bumps in the road in Illinois.  The disfunctional legislature hasn’t been able to agree on how to enforce the law so all tickets wrote in Illinois have been thrown out so far.  Communities have had to deal with an abundance of trash on the sidewalks.  In my former home of Peoria, the city has stepped up and given the downtown bars cigarette receptacles.  In the first three months I was there, not one bar or restaurant shut it’s doors because of the smoking ban.  Forty miles to the east, Bloomington/Normal (home of Illinois State University) banned smoking in all public places six months before the rest of the state.  Again, not one bar or restaurant closed it’s doors because of the smoking ban.  In fact, a few business have said the smoking ban has actually helped there business

“We’re really starting to see an improvement in lunch business and early evening as they’re doing business activities,” said Sully’s General Manager Curt Johnson. And that’s not all.
Sully’s in downtown Peoria is seeing a lot more families too. Manager Curt Johnson says it’s the Illinois Smoke Free Act that’s bringing different faces to his business. Across the River City, Bingo officials say the act is also scoring new players. “We may have some people that aren’t coming out but on the other side of the equation we have some different faces,” said Roger Boswell of the Knights of Columbus.

 With that said, should the State of Michigan ban smoking in bars and restaurants by revising the workplace smoking ban?  HB4163 passed the Michigan House of Representatives on Dec. 5 by 10 votes.  What this bill does is update the bill by striking the provision that allows exemption for “licensed” establishments.  This exemption allowed businesses that were licensed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to sell alcohol to continue to allow smoking.  The bill has not yet been introduced in the Senate where a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop said he opposed the bill, but would allow a debate on the subject according to the Detroit Free Press.

Of course, the bar and restaurant owners are already on the defensive.

A spokesman for the Michigan Restaurant Association said Tuesday that bars and restaurants should be allowed to set their own policies based on what customers want. More than 5,000 bars and restaurants in Michigan already ban smoking, up from around 2,200 in 1998, Andy Deloney said.

“If it’s what their customers want, their potential customers want, then they’ll do it,” he said

Of course, that’s the same bull I heard in Illinois for a year leading up to ban.  No bar is going to ban smoking on it’s own.  When one bar does it, but the other 200 in town don’t, the bar may as well just close up shop.  When the entire state bans smoking, everyone is on the same playing field. 

I, for one, hope this issue gets taken up soon in the Senate and smoking gets snuffed out in public places.  I remember the first time I walked into a bar in Lansing and the first thing out of the hostess mouth was “Smoking or Non-Smoking” and I just kind of rolled my eyes.  I was finally able to enjoy a night out drinking or a relaxing dinner with my girlfriend and not be assualted by smoke and now I was stepping back into that world. 



13 responses

17 04 2008

Smoke free bars and restaurants is awesome. No more smelling like an ashtray after you leave a bar.

21 04 2008

Cry baby non-smokers. You’re a dime a dozen. You complain about smoking yet you gladly benefit from the highest taxed product in the world. You’d all be crying even more if you had to pay all the taxes if every smoker quit today. The casinos have already had three straight months of lower incomes compared to last year. I don’t care if you have your non-smoking bars and restaurants to go to but why can’t there be a place where smokers can go and enjoy ourselves. You’ll never be happy. Next you’ll start complaining about how smokey the sidewalks are now that the smokers have to go outside. Keep crying babies.

21 04 2008
Mid-Michigan Dining

I don’t remember saying that I was a non-smoker…..

9 05 2008

Does this apply to the workplace? I know some workplaces in Michigan where a lot of people smoke and they do not use the designated areas.

9 05 2008
Mid-Michigan Dining

Workplaces have been smoke-free since the late 70’s. This bill is a revision to that original bill because it gave exceptions bars and restaurants. No one should be smoking inside the building at any workplace….I don’t know if there is a requirement as to where they can smoke…in Illinois, it’s 15 feet from any entrance….I don’t believe Michigan has that requirement.

12 05 2008

The bans are a losing proposition.
Bars will close and night life will be gone.

If you want a milquetoast world, well, you will have it.

13 05 2008
Mid-Michigan Dining

That’s not true. There’s already proof in over 30 states that smoking bans neither close bars or kill nightlife. Like I’ve said on this blog many, many times, I came from a part of Illinois that banned smoking 6 months to a year before the state did and even with that unfair disadvantage, not ONE bar closed and the nightlife actually improved.

7 07 2008

As someone in retail, I can assure you that in my location, we are forced to recite spiel to our customers when checking out no matter if the customer is in a hurry or not.

22 08 2008
Harry F. Dunn

I went to Ohio where they have a complete smoking ban to watch the Tiger farm team play ball and talked to smokers who were outside smoking and they said that it is just now a way of life and they have adjusted to it. The one bar that I happened to pass by at about 6pm had an outside patio for smokers and there was nobody on the patio. Whole countries around the world have complete smoking bans and here we are, the most powerful country in the world bickering about this issue. We are truly a spoiled people. Why doesn’t washington just step in like other governments around the world and declare a complete smoking ban. Why?, because we listen to the special interest groups as small as they might be and let them control us because we don’t want to offend anyone. Our government gives in too easy to these special groups and politicians are accepting financial bribes from these groups for these groups to get their way. Wake up America!!!! This is a health issue whether you want to admit it or not.

4 12 2008

Yea, that’s just what we need more legislated control of our lives.

Are you already petitioning for a fried food or trans-fat ban? God knows heart disease kills way more than lung cancer. We need to save the kids!!!! FAT IS MURDER!!!!

If you don’t like smoky establishments then why do you frequent them? If those restaurants really wanted your business they would ban smoking on their own. Your own admission that any place that took the initiative to ban smoking might as well board up the windows is enough evidence for me. People obviously want to smoke and if the clientele demands it then the bar will capitulate or close.

4 12 2008
Mid-Michigan Dining

No, I’m not petitioning to ban trans fats. I am petitioning to make cigarettes illegal though. There’s no good reason other than to line legislators pockets to keep something that is killing people.

If I only went to restaurants that banned smoking, I’d be eating at Applebees every night. No one wants that.

16 05 2010

I cannot figure out how our government can step in and tell privately owned businesses that smoking will not be allowed in their businesses. At what point do we decided that our government has too much control. If you don’t want to smell smoke, or breath second hand smoke, or eat where smoking is allowed than go to a non smoking establishment.
We need to step in and take back the rights our governor and legislatures has decided to take away.

16 05 2010
SW Michigan Dining


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