People Ban: MI State Update Page 2

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Michigan MI State Update

Against smoking ban

September 8, 2007
To the editor:
First off I would like to say I do not smoke and never have. A ban in public places like schools and such is fine but, with a privately owned business it is a bad idea. If a business owner wants to have smoking, it should be up to him if the general public wants to go in his business it is their decision. No one is making them go in there and they are free to go elsewhere. If there is a need for a non-smoking restaruant or bar or whatever it will be decided by what the public wants and not the gov’t sticking their noses in everything we do. Just another step in losing our freedoms.
It is the same with helmet laws. Why stop with bikes, you can get hurt driving a car or a pedal bike also. If it saves just one life it is all worth it right? No one ever shows that states without helmet laws have a better accident record.
Next is taxing your carbon footprint, what next.
BILL JOHNSON
Mohawk

Many divided on proposed smoking ban
Oakland Press – Pontiac,MI,USA
John Garfield, R-Rochester Hills, said Garfield has opposed the smoking ban in the past. “He thinks it’s up to the individual business owner,” Jessup said. …
Smoking Ban
WXYZ – Detroit,MI,USA
But we do not favor exempting Detroit Casinos from the smoking ban. To do so would give them an unfair advantage over nearby restaurants and bars. …
Smoking ban moves forward
Kalamazoo Gazette – Kalamazoo,MI,USA
By The Flint Journal Is there enough steam behind a workplace smoking ban in Michigan to overcome remaining opposition to this healthful step? …
County’s new smoking ban a step forward
Port Huron Times Herald – Port Huron,MI,USA
For St. Clair County, like many Michigan communities, a partial smoking ban is better than nothing. The county’s adult smoking rate is 35.1%, more than 10% …

Michigan House committee approves smoking ban bill

7/24/2007
By TIM MARTIN, The Associated Press???
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — After a decade-long effort, advocates of a smoking ban in Michigan workplaces cleared a key hurdle Tuesday with approval of their measure in a state House committee.
But there are still several challenges ahead for the proposal, which also would affect bars and restaurants and Detroit casinos. The legislation must pass on the House floor, get through the Senate and win Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s approval to become law.
Still, the House Commerce Committee’s 12-4 vote is considered a major step by health groups and other members of the Coalition for Smokefree Air, who favor the smoking ban.
“We are moving Michigan forward on health issues,” said Rep. Brenda Clack, a Democrat from Flint and a main sponsor of the legislation.
The Democrat-controlled House is likely to vote on the legislation at some point, but it may face a stiffer challenge in the Republican-led Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, a Republican from Rochester, opposes the legislation, spokesman Matt Marsden said.
“It’s not government’s place to put further restrictions on small businesses and business owners that may impact how they do business,” he said. “The state’s in bad enough trouble economically.”
But Marsden stopped short of saying Bishop would deny giving the proposal a vote.
The Michigan Restaurant Association is mounting a challenge to the bill, and some lawmakers are concerned it could put Detroit casinos at a competitive disadvantage.
Casinos run by Indian tribes are not expected to be affected by the legislation because tribes are considered sovereign nations.
House lawmakers created exemptions to the proposed law for cigar bars and smoke shops.
An amendment that would have exempted casinos, private clubs and places with liquor licenses failed.
The Michigan Restaurant Association says that customers effectively have dictated whether workplaces should be smokefree. The state has nearly twice as many smokefree restaurants and taverns than it did a decade ago, according to the restaurant group.
“There are plenty of choices out there for people,” said Matt Groen, the Michigan Restaurant Association’s manager of legislative affairs.
Restaurant and bar owners should be able to decide for themselves whether to go smokefree, Groen said.
More than half the states have enacted some sort of ban on smoking in public or workplace areas, according to supporters of the Michigan campaign. Some of those bans do not apply to restaurants and bars.


Proposed smoking ban sparks testimony
July 15, 2007
Recently, those of us on the Michigan House Commerce Committee heard testimony regarding House Bill 4163 and Senate Bills 109-110 — which would ban smoking in bars, restaurants and workplaces. As you can imagine, this is a very contentious issue, with advocates on both sides feeling very passionate about their opinions. But it is an important issue, and I feel it’s one that deserves consideration.
Let me tell you about my own experience. In 2007, my wife and I decided to make Poppa’s Place, the restaurant we own, smoke-free.
We did it for a few reasons: We didn’t want our employees to risk their health by inhaling second-hand smoke all day; we responded to our non-smoking patrons who said that, in a restaurant as small as ours, having a separate smoking section was not enough to keep the fumes confined to one corner; and we wanted our restaurant’s environment to be a lot cleaner.
In making a decision about whether to ban smoking in a family restaurant, you are bound to tick somebody off. And indeed, some of our smoking patrons went elsewhere to enjoy their meals. We felt the hit at first but eventually business returned to normal. In fact, business is better than normal — we’ve broken every sales record we’ve had. The only explanation for our increased success is that we went smoke-free.
In committee, we heard a lot of compelling testimony about the proposed smoking ban. Jill Jack, a performer from Ferndale, described how singing in local bars triggers her chronic bronchitis, making her sick for weeks. There were other musicians there who said they’ve buried bandmates killed from smoking complications.
We also heard from representatives from the bar and restaurant industry, who said that tavern and restaurant owners should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to go smokeless. They also pointed out that Michigan has nearly twice as many smoke-free restaurants and taverns than it did a decade ago.
It’s worth noting that U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona released a report last year that blasted secondhand smoke and said breathing any amount of it harms nonsmokers. Carmona called for completely smoke-free buildings and public places, saying that separate smoking sections and ventilation systems do not fully protect nonsmokers. As of the publication of this column, 31 states have gone smoke-free.
So my question to you, readers and constituents, is: What do you think? Should a smoking ban be voluntary, as it is now, or do we need legislation to protect the health of non-smokers? Call my office toll-free anytime with your opinion on this issue. The number is (888) DIST-065. You can also e-mail me at mikesimpson@house.mi.gov.
Thanks again for your support, and know that I take my job representing the 65th District very seriously.
Mike Simpson represents the 65th District, which includes the city of Eaton Rapids and Hamlin and Brookfield Townships. He can be reached at (517) 373-1775.

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State Considering Smoking Ban
WLNS – Lansing,MI,USA? June 12, 2007
It’s been several years since lawmakers voted on a smoking ban. Lawmakers say a vote is possible on this new bill within the next few weeks.
Lawmakers to debate statewide smoking ban in bars, restaurants
WZZM – Grand Rapids,MI,USA
But now Democrats lead the House, bringing hope to supporters of a smoking ban. The legislation is opposed by restaurants and bars, which argue they should …
Commissioner seeks smoking ban
Royal Oak Daily Tribune – Royal Oak,MI,USA
On Monday, City Commissioner Gary Lelito will propose a smoking ban for public places and almost all public and private work sites in Royal Oak, …

EDITORIAL: State smoking ban a misguided plan

June 16, 2007
At issue: A proposed Michigan smoking ban in bars and restaurants.
Our view: Government is avoiding the real health issue in order to hit bars and restaurants with a economically damaging “feel-good” measure.
Michigan lawmakers can’t seem to put their own house in order, but that isn’t stopping them from telling other people how to run theirs. The latest example of Lansing trying to override the free market is a renewed attempt to tell restaurants and bars that, regardless of how much business it will cost, state lawmakers will no longer permit them to allow smoking.
Supporters of a House Democratic-backed measure claim it’s necessary to prevent the effects of secondhand smoke on patrons and employees. They note the particularly harmful effects of tobacco smoke on children.
Those arguments, however, are hollow. Most restaurants already prohibit smoking, and their ranks are growing. Also, how many children are exposed to smoking in bars? None, we hope. If health concerns were the real issue, lawmakers would ban products that lead to obesity and related fatal diseases, a much heftier medical crisis today in America than even lung cancer.
While we oppose smoking, we also recognize it remains legal for individuals on their own property. Business owners as well should have that freedom of choice. Like Lenawee County’s business smoking regulation adopted earlier this year, this bill clearly violates the concept of private property rights by barring otherwise legal activity.
No customer or worker is forced to enter a bar or restaurant that allows smoking (or that plays very loud music, or that serves fatty foods). The free market solves the problem. People who dislike such features take their business elsewhere. Without any government interference, a lack of customers causes businesses to change their atmosphere. Patrons already have more than 70 smoke-free restaurants in Lenawee County to choose from. Anyone who claims they don’t eat out because they can’t find a non-smoking restaurant isn’t looking very hard.
An Associated Press story Thursday detailed the economic harm inflicted on Ohio businesses as their customers cross state lines to Michigan or Pennsylvania. Some Ohio bars are laying off workers as a direct effect of that state’s ban. In fact, some Ohio employees are crossing state lines to work in bars in places such as Temperance where smoking is allowed. That illustrates the red herring used by ban supporters who argue that all employees want to work in non-smoking businesses, or that employees have no choice. Actually, in Ohio, nobody has a choice.
Some who favor more government control point to New York’s 2003 smoking prohibition. They claim that business in bars there actually has increased. What they fail to mention is that New York’s dining industry suffered a catastrophic economic downturn after Sept. 11, 2001. Its current growth reflects not the benefit of a smoking ban, but rather the rebounding of New York’s economy in general and dining in particular. Forecasters for Michigan and Ohio see no such recovery in sight.
Evidence from Ohio indicates government bans do cost jobs, but it does not show any overall reduction in secondhand smoke. Smokers just light up elsewhere including home, where the majority of secondhand smoke exposure occurs, especially for children. That is why a ban in restaurants will do little to change secondhand smoke’s overall impact.
If Michigan lawmakers truly wanted to protect residents, they would skip regulation and instead encourage more education about the real problem — cigarettes and other harmful tobacco products.
Instead, like tobacco companies that marketed “light” cigarettes, some lawmakers seek a feel-good product with no real health benefit yet all of the damaging effects of the real thing.


Businesses should be free to welcome or ban smokers
February 10, 2007
We have nothing good to say about smoking. It’s clear connection to lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses make it a dangerous and often deadly habit.
Nonetheless, nearly one in four adults chooses to smoke. They pay millions of dollars a year in taxes when they purchase their tobacco products. Over the past two decades, the places where they can partake in their habit have been greatly curtailed. Most can no longer smoke on the job, in retail establishments, health-care facilities, government buildings, etc.
The Campaign for Smokefree Air, a coalition of Michigan health groups and other related organizations, would like to see smoking banned in all Michigan restaurants, bars and workplaces. Twenty-six states now have such bans in some form. Advocates point to the U.S. surgeon general’s report last year on the dangers of secondhand smoke as an important reason to limit nonsmokers’ involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke. The Michigan Air Quality Tour Report shows how smoke-free sections in restaurants seldom succeed in containing smoke to certain parts of an establishment.
Smoking-ban supporters again are promoting legislation to prohibit restaurant and bar patrons from lighting up. They hope that with a shake-up in legislative leadership, they will find the success that has eluded them for nearly seven years.
While we understand and respect their passion, we disagree with their effort. We continue to believe that owners of bars, restaurants and similar businesses should be free to decide for themselves whether to allow or prohibit smoking. Such owners know their clientele best and they should have the choice to serve them in the way that they want.
Smoke-free restaurants and bars are increasing in number. We applaud the trend. Obviously, if businesses owners think it would be profitable for them to go smoke-free, they should be able to do so. Conversely, those owners who think they would lose customers if they banned smoking should not be forced to do so.
Smoking-ban advocates say it is more than a matter of choice for customers and business owners, however. They say their effort also is aimed at protecting employees from being forced to be exposed to secondhand smoke and that waiters, waitresses, bartenders and others in the trade are entitled to a smoke-free environment.
But again, business owners who want to retain good employees should be able to do what they believe is best for their individual situations.
Going out to eat or to a bar is a matter of choice. People should be able to select an establishment that either bans smoking or allows it, depending on their preference. But the choice should be theirs, not the government’s.


Lawmakers renew push for smoking ban in bars, restaurants
1/29/2007
DAVID EGGERT
LANSING, Mich. — State lawmakers are reviving a push to ban smoking in Michigan’s bars, restaurants and workplaces.
Earlier efforts have been snuffed out in the Legislature for nearly seven years. But supporters hope a power shift inside the Capitol and momentum from a U.S. surgeon general’s report will add Michigan to the growing list of states with tough anti-smoking laws.
“It’s time for the Legislature to take a stand on this life-and-death issue,” said state Sen. Tom George, a Republican physician from Kalamazoo County’s Texas Township. He’s sponsoring the legislation along with Sen. Ray Basham of Taylor and Rep. Brenda Clack of Flint, both Democrats.
Previous bills to prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants never got a vote when the Legislature was controlled by Republicans. But now Democrats control the House and the Senate has a new GOP leader.
Advocates say their push is getting more traction and note that seven states, including Ohio, enacted tough anti-smoking laws last year.
Twenty-six states now forbid smoking in bars, restaurants or workplaces. Nineteen have smoke-free restaurants and 13 have smoke-free bars — not including Chicago and other cities that have enacted their own bans.
“We know the entire state will benefit from smoke-free policies — it’s better for businesses and it’s better for our health,” said Judy Stewart, spokeswoman for the Campaign for Smokefree Air, a coalition of Michigan health groups behind the bills.
Rick Reiman, a 56-year-old corporate chef and caterer from Lansing who smokes, sympathizes with nonsmokers who are turned off by secondhand smoke while trying to enjoy a meal. He also says it’s “foolish” to think many nonsmoking sections protect patrons from smokers.
Reiman, however, says smokers should have the same rights as nonsmokers and argues the current system gives patrons an equal choice between places that allow smoking and those that don’t.
“If you ban it, you make it one-sided,” he said Monday while smoking inside Lansing’s Brannigan Brothers restaurant and bar. “I don’t think you want to restrain personal freedom.”
The legislation is opposed by the Michigan Restaurant Association and the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, which say eateries and bars should be free to decide whether to allow smoking based on free-market competition without intrusion from government.
“Our members are experts in the business,” Lance Binoniemi, a lobbyist for the beverage group, said Monday. “They know what their clientele is like. They know whether they need to provide a smokefree environment or allow smoking.”
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop of Rochester has a similar stance on the issue.
Spokesman Matt Marsden said Bishop personally opposes smoking and is aware that secondhand smoke is harmful, but “believes that government shouldn’t interfere with the manner in which private industry conducts itself.”
A message seeking comment was left with Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon of Redford. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said she would sign a smoking ban.
U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona released a report last year that condemned secondhand smoke and said breathing any amount of someone else’s tobacco smoke harms nonsmokers. He called for completely smoke-free buildings and public places, saying that separate smoking sections and ventilation systems don’t fully protect nonsmokers.
The report cited “overwhelming scientific evidence” that secondhand smoke causes heart disease, lung cancer and other illnesses.
Binoniemi acknowledged the risks associated with secondhand smoke but added: “Individuals are welcome to come into the establishment or not.”
But Basham, a longtime backer of anti-smoking legislation, said secondhand smoke doesn’t just affect patrons.
“It’s wrong for hardworking people such as bartenders, waitresses, factory workers and others to be exposed to cancer-causing smoke just because they need to earn a paycheck and provide for their families,” he said.
Several counties and cities in Michigan have barred smoking in workplaces and set regulations in public places, but courts have ruled that only the Legislature can impose bans in bars and restaurants.


Gratiot to consider ban on smoking
December 31, 2006
ROSEMARY HORVATH
Indoor smoking areas where employees take breaks could be outlawed if Gratiot County adopts a smoking ban pursued by the Mid-Michigan District Health Department and its allies.
One of the first actions for the seven-member Gratiot County Commission with three new members next year will be to decide whether to hear public comments regarding a smoking ban in certain private and public areas, and then to vote on the issue.
This month Gratiot commissioners stalled effecting a ban in Montcalm and Clinton counties by tabling a decision.
Commissions in the neighboring counties endorsed a ban but it takes a three-county majority from the health district’s service area to institute a districtwide policy.
Places like short-order grills, taverns, bars, and private organizations such as American Legion posts and Elks Club would be excluded. Smoking would be prohibited from work sites, business vehicles, enclosed areas between floors, restrooms, and businesses such as Laundromats, and 80 percent of hotel and motel rooms rented to guests, to name a few.
Smokers would have to stand at least 15 feet away from any building entrance, window or ventilation system at work sites and public places, if the measure goes through.
Owner Pat Barnes of Leisure Lake Family Campgrounds on Warner Road is apprehensive. A nonsmoker herself, she isn’t sure how many of her patrons would feel offended if smoking were not allowed on the premises.
“Are they talking about not letting people smoke outdoors?” she asked. “It all needs to be in writing. I want to know how it will affect my business and other businesses.”
Barnes wondered if prohibiting a person from smoking is an intrusion on personal freedom.
“Smokers have some rights too,” she said.
Kim Singh, a health officer, would administer and enforce the regulation, if enacted.


Three counties consider smoking ban


December 01, 2006
Susie Fair


STANTON — Finding a place to light up in Montcalm County could be difficult under a proposed ordinance that would eliminate smoking in most public places.


The proposal, drafted by the Mid-Michigan District Health Department, would affect Clinton, Gratiot and Montcalm counties.


The MMDHD board of health hosted a hearing this week in St. Johns to gather input on the new regulations aimed at improving the quality of indoor air.


According to MMDHD public information officer Jennifer Churchill, none of the more than 50 people in attendance spoke against the measure, which would exclude bars and restaurants.


The department’s health officer, Kimberly Singh, said exposure to secondhand smoke is a serious public health issue, resulting in an average of more than 2,500 deaths per year statewide and other complications, such as heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema and asthma.


“I can’t see how the regulations will be a detriment to us at all,” said Steve Klackle, who owns Klackle’s Pavilion, a sports facility in Greenville. “We’ve been a nonsmoking facility since we opened in May 2005, and I can’t say we’ve lost any business because of it. If anything, it’s been a good thing, because we have more customers who don’t smoke than do.


“Simply put, smoking and sports don’t mix. As a non-smoker, my feeling is, if someone wants to smoke, they can go elsewhere to do it, versus making everyone around them miserable.”


Sixteen states have passed comprehensive smoke-free workplace legislation, as well as 15 counties and three cities in the state of Michigan, including Midland, Saginaw and Grand Rapids.


Singh pointed out this is not just about public health, but also economics.


Smoke-free policies decrease absenteeism among nonsmoking employees, reduce housekeeping and maintenance costs, lower insurance rates and result in fewer smoking-related fires.


The proposed ordinance would ban smoking in enclosed public and private worksites, as well as retail stores, movie theaters, convention halls, sports arenas and meeting facilities. Galleries, libraries and museums would also be included.


Singh said the Board of Health will finalize language for the ordinance Dec. 12. It must be approved by each county’s board of commissioners.


Regulations could take effect as early as April 1.




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