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Letter: Smoke-free law is working for Michigan, Ottawa County

Publication Date: 2012-05-12
  • Author:Heather Alberda, Ottawa County Health Department

Ottawa County and the state of Michigan have made great strides to improve the health of their communities over the past several years. In 2007, all Ottawa County-owned parks became smoke-free. The following year, Ottawa County passed its smoke-free indoor air regulation, which prohibited smoking in and within 25 feet of entrances of public and private workplaces. Finally, in 2009, the state of Michigan passed its smoke-free air law, which prohibited smoking in public and private workplaces plus bars and restaurants statewide.

All of these acts happened with the intention of creating a healthy environment for workers, residents and visitors. Those who oppose the laws often cite smokers’ rights. The smokers’ voice is the minority. Only 17 percent of Ottawa County residents are current smokers. Secondhand smoke is a carcinogen and workers in every industry are now protected from exposure day in and day out.

Bar and restaurants are not closing down on every street corner. In fact, polls indicate residents are more likely to visit a particular establishment since the passage of the smoke-free law. Residents consistently support laws for clearing the air.

Even further, Michigan and County residents are complying...

LETTER ­ - May 12, 2012