Frank Miner of Niles, a regular at B&J Pub, enjoys a cigarette Thursday evening. "I think it's an infringement of our rights," he said of the smoking ban. (Daily Star Photo/AARON MUELLER)
Frank Miner of Niles, a regular at B&J Pub, enjoys a cigarette Thursday evening. "I think it's an infringement of our rights," he said of the smoking ban. (Daily Star Photo/AARON MUELLER)

Archived Story

Smoking snuffed out in Michigan public places

Published 10:40am Friday, December 18, 2009

Niles Daily Star

It’s official. Gov. Jennifer Granholm will sign legislation today at 1 p.m. that will ban smoking in all public places next year.

The legislation, which cleared the Senate and House of Representatives a week ago, will make Michigan the 38th state to go smoke-free, starting May 1, 2010. The only three exceptions to the regulations would be the gaming floors of the three Detroit casinos, cigar bars and tobacco speciality stores.

Businesses that do not comply with the regulations could be fined $100 for the first offense and as much as $500 for following offenses.

Owners of restaurants that allow smoking, like Dave Dulemba of the Golden Nugget in Niles, hope that the ban will not result in a huge hit in business.

“For the individual (smoker), it’s a negative,” Dulemba said. “As a business owner the best thing to say is that it’s too early to tell what it will do. In the last 15 years, we’ve seen our tables go to 65 percent non-smoking. I’m just hoping the bottom line is that it won’t be  a problem.”

However, area bars are another story.

Gary Koller, owner of B&J Pub in Niles, in concerned that some of his smoking customers may head for the border to bars in Indiana where no such laws exist.

“It will affect business from the standpoint of location,” he said. “If you’re in Lansing, it makes no difference. But we are eight miles from the state line. We are adjacent to a county in Indiana which allows smoking. For (every bar within) 15 miles (of the state line), it will be devastating.”
It’s not that Koller didn’t see the law coming, but he and other bar owners are upset with the strictness of the regulations.

“I think every bar owner in Michigan knew sooner or later it would happen,” he said. “I think what’s unfortunate is that the Michigan legislature, which has God only knows what to worry about, saw fit to enact one of the strictest non-smoking legislations in the country, which included outside patios.”

Frank Miner of Niles, a regular at B&J Pub, was not happy when he heard about the legislation and believes many smokers will either stay home to drink and smoke or head for Indiana.

“I think it’s an infringement of our rights,” he said. “If people don’t want to go to a bar because there’s smoke there, they don’t have to go there. It’s way out of line. It’s going to kill the business in Michigan.”

Local lawmakers are happy to see the legislation finally pass.

Rep. Sharon Tyler, R-Niles, supported the bill and believes it reflects what most Michiganders wanted.

“A lot of my constituents in southwest Michigan contacted me asking me to support this bill,” Tyler said after the bill passed the House last week. “Michigan residents will now be able to work without fear of second-hand smoke and frequent smoke-free establishments.”

Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks, helped write the bill.

“This will be a great early Christmas gift to the residents of Michigan who have been asking for smoke-free air for a long time,” said Jelinek in a press release last week. “Michigan will join 37 other states in making workplaces healthier for employees and going out to eat more enjoyable for families.”

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  • snowbird

    A smoking ban means: It is against the law to use or permit a legal product on ‘private’ property.
    Is this the American way??

  • ohiobar

    You’ll be sorry

  • snowbird

    The controversy of second hand smoke could be ended quickly by a simple act of legislation. Anyone presenting information represented as science or health reliant information, which is later found to be false or misleading, would be rewarded with a mandatory ten year jail sentence.

    I can guarantee the bandwagon of smoker hatred would end overnight and the profiteers would be making deals in self preservation convicting each other. Similar to the last time their ilk rose to prominence and Doctors were hanged at Nuremberg. The laws of Autonomy created in the wake, are largely being minimized by the bigots and zealots of Public Healthism, they are laws we found at the expense of millions who died without them. No one has the right to make health choices for others and no one has a right to demand rights to the detriment of others, especially with the convenience of a lie, as we find in the “toxic effect of second hand smoke”.

  • KassKountyKawboy

    I’m for the bill, but I am not a smoker, but I did have to sit and watch my wife die from Lung Cancer from smoking.

  • marbee

    This is a very dangerous road taken against smoking with false science as the basis, just like global warming’s false science to justify extremely high taxes! Tobacco Control organizations like the American Cancer Society, ASH, Tobacco Free Kids, etc., have become nothing but Perception Management firms. They are PAID to CREATE “truth”. Created truth is controllable. I can’t fathom that the citizens of this once great nation can so easily fall into this nonsense of the deadliness of second hand smoke, nor the nonsense of taxing the heck out of them will save the people. Same thing with the global warming debacle that taxing us to high heaven will stop something that doesn’t exist and ‘save the planet’! The people must stop these atrocities brought about by special interest before we no longer recognize this nation!

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