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News Summary

Overall, data finds smoking ban positive

Publication Date: 1/3/2011
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Lansing State Journal

A New Year's Eve protest over the state's May 1, 2010, smoking ban should not sway lawmakers or citizens. Michigan must not back away from a law that makes workplaces safer and that will eventually help reduce the negative costs of smoking for everyone...

That said, there's little doubt the ban is hurting some businesses, especially taverns that serve liquor. A state Treasury Department report released in December found that such businesses saw a 1.57 percent drop in sales tax payments to the state from June to September 2010 compared with the same months in 2009. From November through May, the same businesses had seen a 0.10 percent increase. They also saw a 3.1 percent drop in on premises liquor sales from May to August 2010, but had been seeing a 1.6 percent drop before the ban, from October to April. And they saw a 13 percent drop in Michigan Lottery "club games" such as pull tabs from May through September 2010.

That said, almost every other category of the food and beverage business in Michigan saw year-over-year gains in taxable sales after the smoking ban went into effect.

Taverns with wine and beer only were up 1.54 percent; family restaurants, up 4.24 percent; fast food restaurants, up 1.77 percent; night clubs, up 0.19 percent. Overall, food and beverage sales tax collections were up 2.48 percent year-over-year in the months following the ban. And cigarette sales, measured in actual cigarettes sold, dropped 6.3 percent in June through October.

It's preliminary data, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. Keep the ban.