Press Release – Ingham County Smoke Free

9 12 2008

From an Ingham Country Press Release…’s not as good as it sounds on it’s face, but it’s a start.  This one surprise me when I got it in my inbox.  I had never heard that Ingham County was considering such an ordinance….

County Passes Smoke Free Regulation for Bars and Restaurants
Commissioners Pass Unique Resolution to Protect Public, Employees

The Ingham County Board of Commissioner today passed a first-of-its-kind regulation that would require restaurants to change non-smoking sections instead to be “smoke free.”

“Citizens expect to be able to go to their favor restaurant and eat the food and enjoy the atmosphere without having to breath in someone else’s smoke second-hand,” said Commissioner Andy Schor (D-SE Lansing). 

Schor, who chairs the Human Services Committee of the Ingham County Board of Commissioner, shepherded the resolution through the legislative body while working with the health experts on the Ingham County Health Department staff. 
The regulation passed by the County Commission would require that businesses have ample air filtration, smoke eaters, air flow, and other safeguards to separate the smoke from the non-smoking section.  From 2009 through 2014, any new business or any new major renovation would have to comply with these standards.  In 2019, all businesses in Ingham County will have to comply, although cases can be made by certain businesses for extensions.
Schor said, “This is health-conscious and business friendly. We heard and understand the concerns of businesses about cost, but we have also heard the concerns of the citizens to be smoke-free.  This resolution is the best possible compromise for the citizens of our county.”

The Legislature is considering a smoking ban in bars and restaurants, but has not passed this ban.  The Ingham County regulation would be the first of its kind to regulate and monitor how much smoke goes into a non-smoking section.

“My preference is for the Legislature to ban smoking in bars and restaurants for the health and safety of the citizens and employees,” Schor continued.  “I wish we could ban this at the local level, but the Supreme Court says we can’t….so we have taken the most proactive step that we can take.  We have started the clock for businesses and in ten years, whether the Legislature has acted or not, this county will have separation between smokers and those who don’t want to breathe in smoke.”

The regulation allows for flexibility to the County Health Department and staff will work with restaurants to ensure that they are in compliance when the regulation fully takes effect. 

So, if I understand this press release, all they did was change the name from “non-smoking” to “smoke free” and impose some new rules on air filtration that will gradually take effect over 10 years.  So, it’s not going to eliminate smoke, but it might make it better.  Again, brining up Illinois’ law.  Before they passed a smoking ban, they passed a law that gave local municipalities the option to ban.  Some did, some didn’t.  Those that didn’t expressed the same sentiments that Ingham County has….they just wanted the State to do it. 

I guess it’s a start.