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News Summary

Let's stop smoking in restaurants, bars

Publication Date: 7/15/2007
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Jackson (MI) Citizen Patriot

It's time for Michigan to blow away the smoke and look all around the country. From California to Maine, in next-door Ohio and in the nation's capital, state and local governments have made it illegal to smoke in bars, restaurants and other public places. The reasoning? The danger that secondhand smoke creates is a bigger concern than individual smokers' privilege to light up wherever they choose. It's a good argument. Michigan's Legislature ought to join the crowd...

A few rogue state lawmakers have pushed smoking bans for years, but there's evidence the Legislature may be getting serious about a statewide ban. Three bills are in play, with usual suspects like the Michigan Restaurant Association lined up against them. Many restaurateurs argue a ban would hurt their business because smokers would stay home...

We support a ban on smoking in public places, including those that serve food or drink. Even if lawmakers can't go that far, they can take some in-between steps. They can prohibit smoking, except at bars that do almost all of their sales from drinks, instead of food. They also can give local communities more power on this issue. Currently, local governments can limit smoking everywhere except in restaurants and bars because state law takes precedence. That has the effect of blocking a community's ability to decide what's best for itself.