Friday, December 11, 2009

Michigan Bans Smoking

Michigan became the 38th state in the union to ban smoking in most workplaces, which includes bars and restaurants.  This ban goes into effect on May 1, 2010.  There are a handful of exemptions, such as the gaming floors in Detroit's three casinos.

There are several such bars and restaurants in the Warrendale neighborhood.  None of them qualify for one the exemptions, which means that they will feel the full impact of this ban.

Critics of the ban charge that it goes too far and that it will hurt businesses.

Supporters claim that it will actually help businesses because potential patrons who have stayed away because of the smoke will return.

What do you think about all of this?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


FrankNemecek said...

Okay - when I said "comments", I was not referring to a series of spam links.

FrankNemecek said...

For the benefit of anyone else who hits the comments section, I deleted 30+ spam links were deleted this morning that were all posted by one particular douche bag.

Rebecca said...

As a smoker, this doesn't surprise me or really bother me. Anyone who's been just about anywhere outside of Michigan knows this has been coming. OHIO had their smoking ban before us. OHIO! Nonsmokers have been eeking out smokers forever now, so we should be used to it. Most restaurants I go to now already don't allow smoking, which is fine by me. Even as someone who smokes, I don't care for my food to be surrounded by a cloud of soot. A lot of bars have gone to heated patios to keep the smokers outside. If people are ticked because of this smoking ban, they haven't been paying attention. We've basically had one creeping in for years.

So as much as I don't really care one way or another about this, I wonder what they will ban next?

But I will say this, bars seem to be the last bastion of sin in our society. I think it should be up to bar owners whether they will allow smoking or not. But oh, well, so much for that idea.


Frank said...


I love your rambles. Please share more of them.

As for bars being the last bastion of sin, well, they still allow smoking on the gaming floors of Detroit's three casinos. I guess, if you generate enough cash, the Michigan Legislature will overlook a lot of sinning.

Love & laughter,

Marie: said...

Even as a non-smoker, I basically find this to be bullshit. The kind of customers a business is trying to attract should be its own choice. If you're ok having smokers in your building, even if it means repainting the walls every now and then, because it brings in more revenue, then I don't see why you shouldn't be able to do just that.

Most restaurants I go to which allow smoking have incredibly good ventilation which pulls the smoke straight up. You can sit next to a table of smokers and never catch a whiff.

Even if the prediction holds true that the new ban will cause non-smokers to frequent the affected businesses, that doesn't change a thing. If you were trying to attract "the smoking crowd," then that's what you should be allowed to do. Smokers won't even be allowed to smoke outside restaurants anymore. They will have to be off the actual property. That's not a fair demand to make, especially of businesses that don't rent their property, but actually own it.

Tom said...

The only thing that surprises me about the ban on smoking is that Michigan wasn't the last state to do it.

I predict that within one year after the ban goes into effect, the debate will have ended. That's exactly what happened in California (where I lived for about 25 years). For one thing, bar business did not go down. What did go down was the number of sick days employees took, the number of colds, the cost of cleaning employee clothes and more. Even the bar owners became supporters of the ban. Many smokers themselves wound up supporting the ban. There's an old saying about addiction: The person will continue to use the drug until it becomes harder to continue to use than it is to quit. This truly is good news, even for smokers.

Marie: said...

Alright, Tom, but what if it isn't an addiction? My boyfriend, for example, is a social smoker. And while I was skeptic of the entire concept of communal smoking (like say, hookah) at first, now I view it the same as I would sitting down and watching a game or shooting some hoops together. It's just something you do with others, which all of you enjoy.

It's an incredibly moderated use of tobacco, and probably the closest you could get to a healthy use.

Alcohol is a poison, yet people don't view every sip you take as taking you one step closer to death. There's moderate use: having a beer with the guys, and then there's abuse: alcoholism.

Just because a substance is abused by some doesn't mean it should slowly become unavailable to all. It that's true of alcohol, it should certainly be true of tobacco.

Frank said...

Tom and Marie:

I'm loving your discussion. The two of you raise some great points.

Love & laughter,

Tom said...

If I'm in a restaurant sitting next to someone who is having wine with dinner, I'm not forced to drink their wine. But, when someone is smoking, I am forced to "share" their smoking experience. That's the big difference. Chew Skoal, use nicotine lozenges, eat tobacco, etc. It's your health, so go to it. But don't force me to use tobacco too.

Also, the research is pretty convincing that very moderate use of alcohol has a lot of health benefits. However, it's a real stretch to find a health benefit from cigarettes.

Marie: said...

If you're completely incapable of considering mental and emotional health, sure.

And as I mentioned, good ventilation can go a long way. At any rate, no one's forced to sit in the smoker's section. Or even to visit restaurants which allow smoking.

Nobody is "forcing" you to use tobacco. You drive yourself there (releasing an awful lot of smog into the air in the process, by the way), you walk in, and you sit down. If you dislike being in a smoking environment, there are plenty of restaurants which share your sentiments. I can recommend several to you.
You had the choice.
Shouldn't businesses have theirs then, too?

Rebecca said...

Frank, I'm glad you enjoyed! And good point, but I don't gamble, so oh, well. ;-) Cigar bars are still open to me though, and some of them serve booze! Problem solved!

Tom, it's easy to say business didn't go down in California bars after the ban. It tends not to be below 0 degrees, even at midnight, in most places in California. When New York's ban came down, they lost business for a minute. Once people got used to the idea the ban was for real, they adjusted and learned to smoke in the freezing cold if they had to. It's a slow boil (or freeze) and die-hard smokers learn to adjust.

Marie, I'm with you so far as allowing bar owners to choose who they will cater, too, but alas, as Austin Powers would say, that train has sailed. But I'd assume that if cigar bars will continue to be in business, so will hookah bars (and the cigar bar I go to has hookahs). But so far as hookahs are concerned, there's nothing healthy about it any more than smoking cigarettes. As a matter of fact, it's probably worse since they are not filtered, and you have no idea how well those things are cleaned.

Anyway, happy smoking to those of us who still use 'em! Smoke 'em if you got 'em. (But NOT at work, in the bar, in restaurants, or any place else you enjoy smoking.) ;-)

Frzn said...

IF anyone is still looking:

I could go to another restaurant (and another and another) and all but the most expensive do not have proper ventilation to allow me to enjoy my meal completely smoke free typically. (and besides the flavor impact, it severely affects my asthma, so the "non smoking" section doesn't cut it)

However, you can choose to smoke before you come to the restaurant, or after. If I would like to go to a specific restaurant, I can't choose to have the smoke removed ahead of time.

You may see mental health benefits from relaxing with a hookah, and they did leave specific "smokers" allowed for that purpose, but unfortunately negative impact physically has to outweigh.

I feel that the law will allow more businesses to be able to cater to having a non smoking environment and not have to argue the point with some of the more fervent smokers. They can shrug and say it's the law, and be done with it. While it would be nice to give the choice, too many people buckle under pressure.