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Legislation to allow smoking rooms may be a lost cause

Publication Date: 12/8/2010
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Daily Tribune

Smoking has been banned in Michigan workplaces, including restaurants and bars, since May 1.

A number of restaurant and bar owners remain steamed by the law. It's hurting business.

And they've found a sympathetic legislator, Douglas Geiss, a downriver Democrat. Geiss introduced legislation which would allow any employer to create a "legal smoking room." By isolating the room and ventilating it well, the room presumably would be smoke-free by the time an employee had to go in and clean it.

The legislation was mentioned in an Associated Press report about the smoking ban and its impact on Michigan bars and restaurants that host charity gaming events. The bingo and card games, run by professionals for charitable organizations, draw business to the establishments as well as revenue to the organizations.

But business and revenue are down since May 1, by about 25 percent in the three-month period ending Sept. 30 from the same quarter in 2009.

The smoking room bill sounds like a remedy. Geiss' bill would require that the room be completely enclosed by walls, windows and doors, with a separate ventilation or filtration system to keep smoke out of the non-smoking areas....

The bill's language, however, appears to apply to any place of employment.

Thus, it has critics, including those who authored the smoking ban and fought for years for adoption.