Keep the Smoke Free Air Law Alone!

In 2009, we all breathed a sigh of relief when Michigan’s Smoke Free Air Law was enacted.  Michiganders could enjoy a meal or drink in local bars and restaurants without the annoyance and health risks of being subjected to other people’s second hand smoke.  More important, restaurants and bar employees were also no longer subjected to the considerable health hazards of a daily dose of second hand smoke.

However, State Representative, Tom McMillin, (along with a few other Republican and Democratic representatives), has introduce a bill that would allow for smoking in outdoor patio’s.  McMillin’s bill defines an outdoor restaurant area as one that is “less than 50% enclosed.” Restaurants would have the discretion, under the legislation, to choose whether to allow smoking in outdoor areas.  McMillin said he’s a nonsmoker, but that he opposes the ban on smoking at restaurants because he thinks it infringes on civil liberties.

I am against this new bill for several reasons. 

First, though people have a right to smoke if they choose, we non-smokers have the right to be able to go into any and all restaurants and bars and not be subjected to their smoke.  Even in an outdoor setting, smoke travels and can be harmful to others.

Secondly, more studies have shown Smoke-Free Laws reduce smokingAn added benefit of smoke-free laws is their proven ability to prevent kids from starting to smoke and encourages smokers to quit. The 2012 Surgeon General’s Report concluded that in combination with sustained programs and mass media campaigns, tax increases, and other regulatory initiatives, smoke free laws effectively reduce smoking among youth and young adults.

Finally, we need to look globally where there are over 110 Nations that have some type of Smoke Free Air laws such as Spain, Ireland, France and England.  We need to look to future, not roll back the rights of non-smokers to enjoy clean air.

This bill is another example of Tom McMillin working for a narrow fringe of citizens while putting the common good aside.


Joanna VanRaaphorst

Candidate for State Representative #45

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Reg Thomas December 16, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Shouldn't it be up to the property owner if smoking is allowed? If the bar or restaurant owner allows smoking inside or on his patio. I as a non-smoker can choose whether or not I want to eat there. It's called the free-market system, we should go back to that.


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