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News Summary

State should ban all smoking in restaurants

Publication Date: 8/22/2006
  • Author:Daniel Haberman
  • Publication:Detroit News

Despite the objections of some smokers and bar and restaurant owners, the time has come for Michigan to ban smoking in public bars and restaurants. Even the Bush administration's surgeon general now says it is "indisputable" that secondhand smoke is an "alarming" public health hazard, responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths among nonsmokers each year.

The public need not be exposed to an increased risk of death so that others may smoke in complete comfort.

The surgeon general's report found that for nonsmoking adults, exposure to secondhand smoke accounted for 46,000 premature deaths from heart disease and 3,000 premature deaths from cancer last year. And smokers can't just walk outside?

The restaurant industry has a legitimate concern that smoking bans will hurt business, but in New York City, bars and restaurants, according to the surgeon general's report, saw a 9 percent increase in business after imposition of a smoking ban. Class magazine reports that, in Scotland, 24 percent of drinkers said they were more likely to visit a pub after a smoke-free ban. The fear of a drop in business is a reasonable one, but one that has been proven false.