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Smoke Free Air Law good for state

Publication Date: 2012-05-14
  • Author:Dr. William Mayer, American Cancer Society Great Lakes Division
  • Publication:Lansing State Journal

Detractors of the Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law would have us believe the law is having a negative impact on Michigan. Nothing can be further from the truth. These critics are not taking the total picture into account.

They point to individual bars or restaurants that may be struggling. Regrettably, this is a volatile industry where three out of five establishments close or change hands within the first three years of business. In today’s economy it’s not hard to find a bar or restaurant that’s struggling; the economy is the biggest challenge to the hospitality industry.

To claim the smoke free air law is a significant factor in these business challenges is unrealistic. The truth is people are still going to restaurants and bars now that they’re smoke free. And, they enjoy them more. According to the Department of Treasury, during the first year of the law retail eating and drinking establishments saw an increase in total sales by more than 6 percent over the previous year.

In a poll conducted in May of 2011, 74 percent of likely or active registered voters polled favored the smokefree law. That number was eight percent higher than the previous poll taken in 2009 before the law passed. This growth in favorability is not surprising considering the fact that the majority of Michiganders do not smoke (about 81 percent)...

The recent attempts to amend the Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law are nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to undo it altogether. To the 74 percent who favor the law -- don’t be fooled. The road to progress and a recovery for Michigan is not lined with ashtrays and cigarette butts at your corner tavern. Our future lies with smart decisions based on fact, not political rhetoric.

We need to act like a 21st century state and leverage every opportunity to make Michigan a better and safer place to live. Our smoke free workplace law is a step in the right direction. Lawmakers -- listen to your constituents. Preserve the integrity of the Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law.