Archived Story

Smoking ban heads to governor

Published 9:44am Friday, December 11, 2009

LANSING – Legislation to ban smoking in all Michigan workplaces – including restaurants and bars – was sent to the governor Thursday by the Michigan House of Representatives.

“This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue – this is about setting good public health policy,” said state Rep. Sharon Tyler, R-Niles. “This legislation will allow Michigan businesses to join the ranks of many other states across the nation who have taken the prudent steps necessary to maintain a healthy work environment for Michigan employees.”

House Bill 4377, which exempts casino floors, cigar bars, home businesses and motor vehicles, was approved by the full House by a 75-30 vote, and was supported by local Reps. Matt Lori, John Proos, Tonya Schuitmaker and Tyler.

“The dangerous effects of smoking – and secondhand smoking – are well-known,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This smoking ban is a long-overdue public safety measure, and I hope the governor will act on it as soon as possible.”

The legislation, which will take effect on May 1, 2010, if the governor signs it into law, implements compliance requirements for workplaces, such as removing ashtrays and signage to notify the public.

Under the legislation now before the governor, business owners would not be required to call the police on violators.

“This is an issue I’ve heard about from residents time and time again and it’s clear people overwhelmingly support a smoking ban,” said Lori, of Constantine. “Personally, I’d have preferred exemptions for private clubs, but I’m willing to accept a compromise if that’s what it takes to get this done.”

According to the surgeon general, non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke have a 20 to 30 percent increased risk of developing lung cancer and a 30 percent increased chance of developing heart disease.

An estimated 300,000 children under the age of 18 months get pneumonia or bronchitis every year from breathing secondhand smoke.

“This is huge. We’re doing victory laps around the Capitol,” said Schuitmaker, R-Antwerp Township, Van Buren County. “It’s about time we were able to get this done.”

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