Michigan Legislature Attempts Smoking Ban, Again

Both houses of the state legislature are now backing a measure that would ban smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars. Here’s hoping it passes.

It’s expected that the Michigan Restaurant Association, a 4500-member trade group, will again oppose the legislation. WOOD-TV says, “[m]any restauranteurs say they should be able to decide the issue for themselves.”

Yeah. And I should be able to decide for myself whether or not to sue your irresponsible asses for letting secondhand smoke give me cancer in 30 years. It’s a public place. No smoking. If people want to kill themselves in their own houses with all the windows closed, more power to them, but don’t inflict that on the rest of us, OK?

posted by Chris on 19 April 2005 at 1202 in general


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Comment by chris ?

Hrmmmm, no. It’s a private place that chooses to open itself to the public.

Look, I hate smoking as much as you do, Chris. I grew up with two of the most important people in my life (my dad’s parents) being life-long smokers. My grandfather was a regional sales manager for Brown & Williamson, before he injured his back and had to give up the job. After going to their house every Sunday to visit for most of my childhood, I have a highly tuned sense of cigarette smoke; ask my wife—she swears I smell traces of cigarette smoke that “normal” people would never pick up. (This should come in handy should the little phisch ever decide to try smoking and hide it from me.)

That said, I think the government should butt out and let these establishments decide for themselves if they want to offer a smoking section or not. Especially after I saw what the city of Dallas did to its restauranteurs. First, they pass an ordinance which forced these business owners to install expensive filtration systems so non-smokers wouldn’t have to smell the smoke, and many, many owners were complying. Then the city just decided to up and ban smoking. They forced these private business owners in to shelling out major bucks they could have been putting in to expansions, hiring more people, creating opportunity and wealth for themselves and others, then flush it down the drain.

I hate going to the nearest Applebee’s, because with the way their interior is designed, there is nearly no place in the restauraunt where I cannot catch a whiff of the cigarette smoke from the bar/smoking section. Our Chili’s, on the other hand, has the bar/smoking section segregated to one side of the building, with a glass partition between it and the non-smoking section. Unless someone is puffing away right by the hostess stand, I don’t even smell smoke there when we’re waiting to be seated. Unfortunately for me, I like the food at Applebee’s more, so I tolerate the situation there.

Like many areas, it’s a free-market situation. People will patronize restaurants which will offer them what they want (and/or what they will tolerate). They will not patronize establishments which do not offer them these things. Even if I weren’t a teetotaler, I couldn’t see myself spending any time whatsoever in bars, simply because of the smoke situation. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who feel that way. So they go elsewhere.

So the government bans smoking, and makes everyone go outside to get their nicotine fix. Then you have to run the gauntlet of smokers from the parking lot in to the establishment. Where does it end?

Several people have been saying for years: if tobacco is so bad for us, why don’t we just ban it completely and get it over with?

Leave the restauranteurs alone. Go eat some place else. The market will provide choices.

posted at 1202 on 19 April 2005

Comment by Chris Lawson

The restaurant-goers’ — and restauranteurs’ — rights to smoke end where my lungs begin.

In a public place, this means they have no right to smoke, period. If the restauranteurs don’t want to be subject to laws governing public places, they can close their place of business to non-smokers. The ultimate in free-market capitalism.

Of course, they don’t want to do this, because they know they’ll be out of business in six months, whereas with a law banning smoking, they’ll lose maybe 10 per cent of their patrons. (More likely, that small minority will simply make an attempt not to smoke, and kudos to them for doing it.)


posted at 1202 on 19 April 2005

Comment by Firethorn

Chris, the trick is, it’s technically NOT a public place. It’s a private business. Thus, it’s their right to decide what’s allowed and what’s not. They can kick you out for not following a dress code, they can kick you out for making a fuss.

If you don’t like cigarette smoke, don’t eat there. There’s enough non-smokers (me included) to make a huge dent in their sales. The most I support would be a requirement for a sign stating ‘smoking allowed here’ or ‘smoking not allowed here’ or ‘seperate sections are provided for smokers and non-smokers’.

My father is in heating/cooling, IE Air Handling Systems. They deal with ventilation systems for chemicals far nastier than tobacco smoke. According to him there are all sorts of systems to ensure that you don’t get exposed to cigarette smoke (or other pollutents for that matter). This ranges from a seperate room to even fancier tricks than a barrier of glass. They can actually engineer the airflow to ensure that tobacco smoke is efficiently whisked away into the ceiling.

The problem is that current law doesn’t allow this. And far from going broke, many restraunts in my town are non-smoking, and there is no ban on smoking.

Let the smokers smoke if they want, if the owner of the restraunt chooses to let them. It’s not like you have to patronize that restraunt.

posted at 1202 on 19 April 2005

Comment by Chris Lawson

As soon as they open their doors to the public, it becomes a public place.

If they don’t want to be subjected to laws governing public spaces, they should close their doors to the public. I don’t think any restaurant owners are that stupid, but clearly a very vocal minority of their patrons — smokers — are.


posted at 1202 on 19 April 2005

Comment by Reidsrow

Well, as a resident of Cambridge, MA, where smoking was banned in all public places (that’s the legal jargon, folks - restaurants are public spaces) a year and a half ago, reports indicate that revenues went *up* over the past year rather than down.

Seems that if we don’t have to suffer smelling like a midwestern bowling alley in order to eat a nice plate of falafel, we’ll spend more dough.

posted at 1202 on 19 April 2005

Comment by smoker

As a smoker I dream for the day when I can eat and not have some ahole chain smoking away two seats down from me. I dont see the point in allowing smoking in a business. Tell it the employee who has to continually breath it in.

posted at 1202 on 19 April 2005

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