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News Summary

House softens smoking ban

Publication Date: 5/29/2008
  • Author:CHRIS CHRISTOFF
  • Publication:Detroit (MI) Free Press

But exemptions for casinos, racetracks may not stick

A campaign to prohibit smoking in bars, restaurants and all Michigan workplaces took another bounce Wednesday when the House voted -- again -- for a bill that would exempt casinos, cigar bars, bingo halls and horse racetracks from the ban. Advertisement

But the maneuver may result in a total ban anyway because earlier the Senate rejected House exemptions from a statewide smoking ban. If that decision isn't reversed, the House likely will vote for a bill to ban smoking everywhere, no exceptions.

Wednesday's House vote came under mounting public pressure for a smoking ban, but also pressure from Detroit's casinos, which warn that a smoking ban would cut into their business and force layoffs. The vote was 65-39 for a smoking ban with exceptions.

The proposed ban would not apply to Native American casinos, which are not subject to state law. Detroit's three casino owners argue that smokers will choose to gamble at Indian casinos where smoking is allowed. Windsor's casino prohibits smoking.

The House bill would allow smoking on casino gaming floors but not in their restaurants.