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Michigan Smoking Bans Information

These are some notes regarding smoke-free legislation in Michigan. The Michigan smoke-free legislation went into effect on May 1, 2010.

Michigan Smoke Free Legislation

Michigan bills to prohibit smoking in the workplace have been languishing in the Legislature since 2000. One bill applies to food-service establishments, whereas the other applies to all other work places. Two different bills are needed because of Michigan’s unique health code, which lists food-service establishments like bars and restaurants under different safety regulations than other workplaces. The bills themselves are very simple. They define the locations, prohibit smoking in those locations, specify civil fines and other enforcement provisions, and then tie up legal loose ends.

Nearly two-thirds (63.3 percent, +/- 4 percent) of 600 registered Michigan voters polled in March 2005 would "strongly favor" or "somewhat favor" a law creating smokefree environments in all places of business except for private homes that are used for business purposes (View Polling Results). Despite popular support and incontrovertable benefits, the legislature has not acted on the bills for the past six years, with the reasons being voter apathy and industry lobbying.

Governor Candidate Positions for November Election

If you view the WXYZ News final debate between candidates Dick DeVos and Governor Jennifer Granholm online (Oct 16, 2006 - link no longer available).

Fast forward to 15:40 to hear Diana Lewis ask the question that Jeff Calebs, Wayne County Tobacco Coalition Coordinator, submitted regarding support for smokefree air. Jeff was one of 30 people selected to be in the audience. DeVos said he would not support legislation that made bars, restaurants, and other public places smokefree. Granholm said she would sign the bills if they showed up on her desk.

Michigan Senate Bills

Michigan House Bills

Status of Legislation

From the Office of Shirly Johnson, Michigan State Senator, 13th District
July 5, 2006 (excerpt)

First and foremost, [legislation to prohibit smoking] is certainly a state legislative concern; however, most counties have their own statutes restricting smoking. In fact, Ingham County adopted the state's first ever smoke-free regulation that restricted smoking in public and private work-sites. This has now become the basis for several other Michigan counties. The State of Michigan, counties, and private citizens have worked with the University of Michigan's Smoke Free Environmental Law Project (SFELP). This project is primarily funded through the Department of Community Health. You can contact SFELP at (734) 665-1126 for informal legal advice, as well as assistance with eliminating public smoking in your place of business or residence.

As you know, two Bills have been introduced this legislative session regarding the prohibition of smoking in work places and restaurants. Senate Bill 394-395 and House Bill 4624-4625 currently await support in Committee. There have been several proposed legislative measures in past sessions which sought to address the issue of smoking in work places. However, in the past, legislation to this effect has failed to garner sufficient support.

News Articles

Surgeon General's Report on the Adverse Effects of Second-hand Smoke

U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona issued a comprehensive scientific report on second-hand smoke on June 27, 2006 that concludes that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. He emphasized that sustained efforts are required to protect the more than 126 million Americans who continue to be regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in the home, at work, and in enclosed public spaces. The major conclusions, derived from a review of decades of research findings, are as follows:

  1. Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and in adults who do not smoke.
  2. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.
  3. Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
  4. The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
  5. Many millions of Americans, both children and adults, are still exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces despite substantial progress in tobacco control.
  6. Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.

From the USA Today, Secondhand smoke debate 'over', 6/27/2006:

The report does provide strong support for smoke-free laws. Contrary to tobacco industry-financed studies, smoke-free policies do not hurt business for bars, restaurants and other venues, the report concludes. The report strongly criticizes the tobacco industry for financing biased studies to undermine carefully conducted, peer-reviewed research on the economic effects of smoking bans in an effort to "sustain controversy even as the scientific community reached consensus."


Michigan Smoke-Free Organizations

Campaign for Smokefree Air Michigan (CSA)
This is the most up-to-date website. The organization is over one year old.
Michigan Citizens for SmokeFree Air (MCSFA)
CSAR was working with the owners of the above grassroots site. It used to contain latest news and a smoke-free restaurants list.
Smoke Free Environmental Law Project (SFELP)
This University of Michigan project is sponsored by the MI Dept. of Community Health.
Smoking Bans at Wikipedia
Information on smoking bans including a list of countries now banning workplace smoking

Opposed to smoking bans - Michigan Restaurant Association (MRA)
MRA did not reply to a request for their position, but it is well known. Their website boasts of their legislative accomplisments, which include, "Successfully continued the defeat of a mandatory smoking ban in Michigan restaurants. The bill puts the state in the position of dictating to you what is best for your business and eliminates your freedom to accommodate your guest and dining choices."
Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA)
MLBA does not have an official position sheet for Senate Bill 395 and House Bill 4625. However, the MLBA Executive Board has taken the official position of opposing the legislation. Lance Binoniemi, the MLBA Director of Government Affairs, has made public statements on the legislation to the media and the Legislature in the past.
Tries to discredit cigarette taxes and smoking bans

What You Can Do

  1. Visit the Campaign for Smokefree Air Michigan (CSAR) website and sign up for their mailing list. Look in the "Show Your Support" section.
  2. The smoke-free bills are awaiting committee hearings in both the House and Senate. You can help by contacting the chairs to ask for a hearing. The American Cancer Society Action Network has set up a Make MI Air Smokefree Action Alert Page, where you can do this via the Internet, but phone calls are also effective.
    • Representative Bill Huizenga - 90th House District - (517) 373-0830
    • Senator Ken Sikkema - 28th Senate District - (517) 373-0797
    • Contact info as of June 29, 2006 - see the CSAR and ACS websites for up-to-date information.
  3. Link to this page and send me any information that would be fit to post.

A Personal Story

I went to club Exodus in Greektown and Como's Restaurant in Ferndale over Mother's day weekend, May 13-14, 2006. Although the music and food were a blast, after returning from both places, I felt sick from the cigarette smoke. I felt as if I had been made to eat some rat poison. In effect, I had, since second-hand smoke contains arsenic, a potent rat poison. This provoked me to write up this page, with some thoughts that have been stewing in my head for a long time. It is so unfair that non-smokers can't enjoy Michigan night-life without being poisoned by smokers. Maybe Michigan wouldn't have such an exodus of yuppies if it offered the proper amenities, like a public smoking ban.

Some people think smoking is a personal choice. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

Opponents of smoking bans like to say it is an invasion of personal liberty and interference in free markets. The 1977 ban on leaded paint was also an invasion of personal liberty and interference in free markets. By the opponent's ideological argument, lead paint should be legalized again. Maybe then, it can overtake smoking as the number one poisoner of Americans.

Opponents scare you with the prospect of runaway legislation and big government. In reality, the hurdles to pass any legislation are so high that it is highly unlikely that those silly bans on fried foods would ever be enacted. Besides, fried foods do not, by themselves, kill thousands of people every year.

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Created 2006-05-14, Last Modified 2015-09-07, © Shailesh N. Humbad
Disclaimer: This content is provided as-is. The information may be incorrect.