Legislator Wants Local Governments To Be Able to Ban Smoking

25 08 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the smoking ban.  The big reason is because there’s been no movement on the statewide bill which I completely support and would rather see a ban including casinos.  There’s 14 months left in the current legislative session and most insiders don’t expect it to get any farther than it already is.

This week, Rep. Gary McDowell (D-Rudyard) is trying to introduce a bill that would allow local governments (ie. cities, villages, counties, townships, etc) to enact bans in their jurisdictions

A bill sponsored by Rep. Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard, would let each county, city, township and village decide if people can smoke in local bars and restaurants. Courts have said Michigan law allows only the Legislature to ban smoking in food establishments.

McDowell said that should be changed because he does not think lawmakers will pass a ban on their own.

“It’ll bring the debate back home, to every township and city hall,” McDowell said in an interview. “Once one community does it, it’ll start to spread across the state. It’s hard to imagine which community in Michigan would want the notoriety of being the last to allow smoking in the workplace.”

It’s not a unique move.  Most states that ban smoking do so after a number of municipalities enact local bans.  Again, my experience is with the Illinois ban.  I know several communities banned smoking before the statewide ban went into effect.  Some refused to enact a local ban preferring a statewide ban.  

I’m not a fan of these types of bans.  Especially in a city like Lansing.  You would really need Lansing, Lansing Township, Delta Township, East Lansing, and Okemos to work together and pass a ban.  All of the studies the anti-smoking ban groups use are from these local bans…not statewide bans.  I mean, yeah, if you could drive a few blocks and be able to smoke in a bar, you probably would. 

I know it sounds big brother-ish, but smoking is an issue that the government should be involved with.  You’re not just effecting your own life, you’re altering everyone’s life around you.

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18 responses

25 08 2009
Mike

It’s interesting that the anti-smoking advocates here have not pushed the legislature to repeal preemption (like they did in Illinois, among other places), instead urging a no-exemptions bill so wide there would be few areas left for localities to tighten it.

I don’t think this bill gets anywhere in the Senate, either and I’m not sure about the House. It would eventually set up the “smoking islands” Sen. Mike Bishop complained about in HB 4163 last year and many of the bar/restaurants that do support a statewide ban want it for the “level playing field” it would provide. This bill does the opposite, and I suspect they would not support it.

And interestingly, the local control provisions of HB 4377 were removed before the bill was sent to the Senate, so support may not be there, either.

25 08 2009
Pam Parker

I love this comment “many of the bar/restaurants that do support a statewide ban want it for the “level playing field” it would provide”. If bars/restaurants WANT smoking banned, all they need to do is BAN it in their own bars/restaurants. Let me tell you about the “level playing field” in Ohio, folks. Level playing field means all of us bar owners are ALL losing money and fast. That’s about as level as it gets. You don’t get it. If people can’t smoke while they drink, they GO HOME and do it. http://www.daytondailynews.com/o/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/taste/entries/2009/01/15/ohioans_drinking_more_liquor_a.html I read a study yesterday that puts Michigan at the BOTTOM of the heap on private sector employment growth and state economic performance. Ohio is just above you. Do you REALLY want to put an entire industry out of business? Ohio’s 2,509 drinking places provide over $320,000,000 in sales taxes. But we used to provide much, much more. Hard to do when everyone is staying at home. If a business wants to be smokefree, then what’s stopping them? Oh…they want everyone ELSE to be forced to be smokefree just because they want to be. My husband and I own a bar but probably not for long, thanks EXCLUSIVELY to the ban. Our employees are sending the legislature and Governor a letter telling them they don’t WANT forced protection-they never asked for it-they want to opt out. Being smokefree has put them in more danger than any SHS consisting of 98% water vapor. At 1:30 a.m., they have to stand outside our bar to smoke..a bar that is now mostly empty (and it was ALWAYS lucrative before being non-smoking). They’re now at risk of much more than cigarette smoke. Our bar is the ONLY business open that late. They want it back the way it was. They want their CUSTOMERS back. They want their TIPS back. Pretty soon, they’re going to want their jobs back, too. And we can’t sell our bar for a fraction of what it was once worth. Who’ll loan money to someone to buy a non-profitable bar? It’s not right. If the state wants to make decisions that impact our businesses, then let the state buy them.

25 08 2009
Pam Parker

You know what, Mid? I can tell you for a FACT that the DAY the ban began being enforced is the DAY we began to lose money. I’ve talked to bars in Illinois. They ARE losing money. Smoke in you face while eating? I’m not talking about EATING. I’m talking about DRINKING. I’m on the Board of Directors of the Buckeye Liquor Permit Holders Association and our members have lost money since day one of enforcement…more than a year before Ohio had an economic downturn.

My guess, Mid, is that you work for the American Lung Association or any one of the groups that PROFIT from bans. We lost 313 drinking places in 2007, the year after the ban. We were in NO economic depression in 2007.

25 08 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

I work for no one. Literally

26 08 2009
Helldog

Quit being so cranky, Pam. You want all vices to support all other vices just so you can make a profit? Just because a culture has steered down one path does not condemn it to stay on that path. If the market needs to re-baseline due to the overall good of the people, so be it. They will figure out something else to tax to make up for the shortfall if that is one of your major concerns.

I hope everything works out for you and your business, just as I also hope that things work out for the non-smokers.

26 08 2009
Bob

If it does pass, here’s a popular ban that has been used by many communities. No need to waste a lot of time. “Smoking Ban for Dummies”
Just click “print” then fill in the blanks naming your community and administrators names, and pass it. Bingo, an instant law. You don’t even need to read all the legal mumbo jumbo. Simple, even for the most mentally challenged. This model ban can be customized to your location depending on how wide your local sidewalks are.

http://www.no-smoke.org/document.php?id=229

It’s on page eight of the tobacco control handbook:

http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/CIA_Fundamentals.pdf

26 08 2009
Mike

And as this blog operator knows, I’m not a particular fan of smoking bans, although I do not dispute their rationale. I was just commenting that of those bar-restaurant owners who do support a ban, they mention the “level playing field” a ban would provide as reasons for their support. This bill removes that.

26 08 2009
Bill_B

There is no such thing as a “level playing field” in a free market economy, something that seems to be under attack from all sides these days.
If I have a legal product, service, or an environment that you don’t have, and can’t or won’t provide, then good for me, bad for you, ..that’s business.
That’s how economies are built and grow, by providing goods, services and ENVIRONMENTS that patrons want.
Smoking Bans don’t “level the playing field”, they do just the opposite by punishing businesses that have a smoking clientel and rewarding those that don’t. Punishing hospitality based business owners for making a choice to provide hospitality and accommodation to a minority of citizens that seek out such venues to patronize and to be employed in is absurd.
The Anti-Smoking Mafia’s claim that “It’s not a Rights issue, it’s a Heath issue” lends a level of rediculous and completely unwarranted credibility to the selfish “all about me” notion that personal preference for a non-smoking environment magically trumps Private Property Rights of ownership.

The abrogation of private property rights through solicited government intervention to achieve this end is despicable. Not unlike eminent domain, it is allowed to usurp the property rights of individual property owners by disregarding any consideration of the owners’ preference for the environment within that property of which only the owner has any substantial monetary interest invested, and for entry into which is strictly voluntary by the public.
You don’t have to be there, …ever. It’s a choice you make.

Rather than allowing people to decide for themselves what voluntary risks they wish to take with their own health, either by smoking first-hand or in frequenting bars or restaurants that allow smoking to occur, the Anti-Smoking Mafia is determined to establish a risk abatement strategy that is completely inconsistent with the very definitions of autonomy, freedom and self determination that allow people to make such decisions on their own in the first place. It is disgusting. These people aren’t waging a war on tobacco, they’re waging a war on liberty, and the biggest weapon they have in their arsenal,….aside from the ubiquitous, less than factual propaganda, is voter apathy.

Whether you smoke or not, when you vote to allow the government to dictate or criminalize personal preferences, you’re giving your freedom away.
If you don’t vote at all, then you have no idea what it is you’ve lost.

26 08 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

oh bull. If I want to have strippers in my bar, chances are, I’m not going to be able to do it. It’s not a free market issue. No one’s stopping you from opening your bar. That’s a free market….not what’s allowed inside it.

Twenty years from now, we’re going to look back and think how backwards we ever were for even allowing smoking in the first place. It’s amazing to me that smoking was ever allowed in hospitals or in an office building. A bar is no different. In fact, maybe it’s time bars that only serve alcohol go the way of the Model T.

26 08 2009
marbee

Anti-tobacco anti-smoking proponents spend obscene amounts of money demonizing smoking like the nazi’s did. This has created hatred against an entire segment of society. They deliberately make people think that private property that opens to the public and public property that is taxpayer funded are one and the same. They are NOT! The public loses nothing with smoking bans forced on private property owners. They do not pay the taxes or upkeep on these privately owned businesses. They are accountable for nothing, including the losses incurred by these people who have invested their own money and sweat to hold on to a little bit of the American dream. If you don’t like smoke, DON’T GO! There was never a law that said a bar owner had to allow smoking, there should not be one that says you have to ban smoking! Our citizens died fighting for these rights! Now we have veterans standing outside in the rain and cold knowing their own country has turned it’s back on what they fought for. Our lawmakers of today don’t even have a clue what our Constitution stands for, they should be booted out, and John Q. Public should be ashamed!

26 08 2009
J

I don’t like somke- not because of the advertising- but because I can’t stand the smell, and it hurts my lungs due to my asthma.
I want to go to a restaurant and not have to smell someone else’s dirty habit. I enjoy going to bars back in Illinois- because there’s no smoking- here in Michigan- I would love to go but don’t because of the smoke.
No one died for your right to kill me with second hand smoke. If you want to somke- go to your own home and do it- don’t do it by me. Its MY right to not be around somke.
I love listening to all these angry smokers complain about their rights being taken away- what about MY right to not be around smoke?!

26 08 2009
Rebecca

J, this is not about a person’s right to smoke or not to smoke. This is about property rights. Once we allow the non-profits and big pharma to declare this a health issue, then they can move on and declare alcohol, fast food, soda pop and anything else a health issue. If you suffer around smoke then there are places around that are already smoke free. Vote with your feet and your wallet. If more smoke haters did this, there would be more smoke free places. Please be wise and allow the free market to work!

26 08 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

Property rights is even a worse argument. Homeowner’s Associations prevent you from putting a flag in front of your house. Historic Preservation Commissions force you to make expensive repairs to your property. Building codes make you intall expensive sprinkler systems and clearly mark exits. All of these are examples of government forcing the owner of a building to do something they don’t want to do.

The mere act of eating/drinking fast Food, soda pop, and alcohol have no immeiate effect on those around you. Smoking does. It is an issue of right to smoke/right to breate. It’s not a property rights issue. The mere act of purchasing a liscense to serve alcohol on your privately owned property is an act of government intrusion, but no one has a problem with that.

26 08 2009
Rebecca

I can CHOOSE not to belong to the associations that you mentioned and live elsewhere. I can CHOOSE to use a legal product on private property where it is allowed. More than 200 valid studies show that shs is an insignificant health risk for most people.

26 08 2009
snowbird

What if the governments mandated that all currently smoke-free hospitality venues MUST provide a smoking section to accommodate smokers, against the wishes of business owners who choose
to go smoke-free of their own free will?

That wouldn’t be fair, would it?
Neither are government mandated smoking bans.

26 08 2009
snowbird

Government power real health hazard

The bandwagon of local smoking bans now steamrolling across the nation has nothing to do with protecting people from the supposed threat of “second-hand” smoke.

Indeed, the bans are symptoms of a far more grievous threat, a cancer that has been spreading for decades and has now metastasized throughout the body politic, spreading even to the tiniest organs of local government. This cancer is the only real hazard involved – the cancer of unlimited government power.

The issue is not whether second-hand smoke is a real danger or is in fact just a phantom menace, as a study published recently in the British Medical Journal indicates. The issue is: If it were harmful, what would be the proper reaction? Should anti-tobacco activists satisfy themselves with educating people about the potential danger and allowing them to make their own decisions, or should they seize the power of government and force people to make the “right” decision?

Supporters of local tobacco bans have made their choice. Rather than trying to protect people from an unwanted intrusion on their health, the bans are the unwanted intrusion.

Loudly billed as measures that only affect “public places,” they have actually targeted private places: restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops and offices – places whose owners are free to set anti-smoking rules or whose customers are free to go elsewhere if they don’t like the smoke. Some local bans even harass smokers in places where their effect on others is negligible, such as outdoor public parks.

The decision to smoke, or to avoid “second-hand” smoke, is a question to be answered by each individual based on his own values and his own assessment of the risks. This is the same kind of decision free people make regarding every aspect of their lives: how much to spend or invest, whom to befriend or sleep with, whether to go to college or get a job, whether to get married or divorced, and so on.

All of these decisions involve risks; some have demonstrably harmful consequences; most are controversial and invite disapproval from the neighbours. But the individual must be free to make these decisions. He must be free because his life belongs to him, not to his neighbours, and only his own judgment can guide him through it.

Yet when it comes to smoking, this freedom is under attack. Smokers are a numerical minority, practising a habit considered annoying and unpleasant to the majority. So the majority has simply commandeered the power of government and used it to dictate their behaviour.

That is why these bans are far more threatening than the prospect of inhaling a few stray whiffs of tobacco while waiting for a table at your favourite restaurant. The anti-tobacco crusaders point in exaggerated alarm at those wisps of smoke while they unleash the unlimited intrusion of government into our lives. We do not elect officials to control and manipulate our behaviour.

26 08 2009
marbee

With all of these bans, here is a list of smokers that you would exclude from fun or work in your state! Some of them are rolling over in their graves! And I will add myself to a list of those who will not visit places with smoking bans! Lucille Ball, David Bowie, Drew Barrymore, George Harrison, Walt Disney, Bette Davis, Sammy Davis, Jr., Pat Nixon, Kate Moss, Albert Einstein, Edwin P. Hubble, James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Alexander Graham Bell,
Robert Oppenheimer, Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, Helmut Schmidt, Queen Margrethe II, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, King Hussein of Jordan, Camilla Parker Bowles, John F Kennedy, Gerald Ford, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, JRR Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, CS Lewis, Christopher Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, Demi Moore, Keith Richards, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Palmer, Sophia Loren, Kate Winslet, Raquel Welch
Luciano Pavarotti, Catherine Deneuve, John Wayne, Nicole Kidman, Mel Gibson, Britney Spears, Shakira, David Carradine, Russell Crowe, Avril Lavigne, Pierce Brosnan, Marilyn Monroe, Meg Ryan, John Lennon, Pat Benatar, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Eddie Van Halen, Vincent Van Gogh, Ivana Trump, Jeanne Calment, the world’s oldest ever person who died aged 122, only quit smoking aged 117, Claudia Schiffer, Alfred Hitchcock
Maurice Ravel, the composer of Bolero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso died aged 92, Che Guevara, Aaron Spelling, David Bowie, Johnny Depp, Joaquin Phoenix, Marlene Dietrich, lived to 90, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Ben Affleck, Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn, Colin Farrell, Ashton Kutcher, James Woods, Lindsey Lohan, Leonard Nimoy, Jimmy Page, Sean Penn, Richard Pryor, Frank Zappa, Joan Collins, Bill Cosby, Bo Derek, Danny De Vito, Linda Evangelista, Sigmund Freud, George Gershwin, Ulysses S. Grant, Samuel L Jackson, David Letterman, Pope St. Pius X, Pope John XXIII, Charles Spurgeon, British Baptist preacher, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Costner, Christina Aguilera, and the list goes on and on.

26 08 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

oh man. I wasn’t going to reply to anymore comments. I was just going to let you guys have your fun since we all know the question is not IF there will be a ban, but WHEN, but this one was too good. This is where the anti-ban rhetoric is going? That’s freakin aweome. A list of dead people and people I wouldn’t want in my bar anyway. That’s awesome. Thanks for making my day. I seriously fell of the couch when I read this one.

On that note, I’m closing the thread. If that’s the best argument against a ban, it’s time to just stop.

We’ll pick it up again when there’s some actual movement on one of these bans.




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