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Posted on Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Many Ann Arbor restaurant, bar owners eager to snuff out smoking as ban approaches

By Sven Gustafson


Adam Schlecte of Ann Arbor lights up a cigarette while watching a ball game at the Arena Sports Bar in downtown Ann Arbor on Thursday night. Beginning May 1, smoking will be banned in bars and restaurants in Michigan.

Lon Horwedel |

The statewide smoking ban may be heralding big changes for Michigan’s hospitality industry, but Ann Arbor bar and restaurant owners largely aren’t sweating the switch to smoke free.

A combination of factors — not the least of which is a dwindling population of tobacco users and successful precedents in other cities and states — has many Ann Arbor restaurateurs looking forward to the change.


About 70 percent of the county's approximately 1,100 food service establishments are already smoke-free. But that still leaves about 300 impacted businesses within the county. Here's a look at the compliance checklist sent out to Washtenaw County businesses to prepare for the smoke-free law.

By May 1st, businesses must:

  1. Learn about how the new law impacts your business at For instance, all outdoor patios that allow food or beverage service must be smoke free, in addition to indoor areas being smoke free by May 1.
  2. Discuss and train your new employees regarding enforcement of the new law. Instruct them how to handle a customer who decides to smoke after the law is in effect. For instance, train employees to tell smokers, "State law no longer allows smoking inside here. I'm sorry, but you'll have to step outside to smoke."
  3. Post required no-smoking signs. Downloadable signs are available for free at
  4. Remove any indoor ashtrays or other smoking paraphernalia. Washtenaw County's health department interprets this to include paraphernalia used for decorative purposes.
  5. Direct anyone who is smoking to stop or to step outside in an area not meant for the consumption of food.
  6. Keep information about the law on hand.

If a Washtenaw County bar or restaurant is not complying with the law or if customers have questions about enforcement, they should contact Washtenaw County environmental health at 734-222-3800. They can also call for more information at the state hotline: 1-866-59-SMOKE.

SOURCE: Washtenaw County Environmental Health

“My place will get busier when this nonsmoking comes in, I guarantee it,” said Bill Fraser, the owner of Fraser’s Pub on Packard. Staff there will spend half a week prior to the May 1 smoking ban cleaning the restaurant and repainting to get rid of three decades worth of accumulated smoke odors, he said.

“If I did it myself, and other bars didn’t do it, it would probably hurt me,” Fraser said of going smoke-free. “But because all bars have to do it, it’s going to be a big plus.”

The smoking ban, signed in December and effective May 1, prohibits smoking in all workplaces, public places, and anywhere that food or beverages are served, including restaurants with outdoor seating. Cigar bars, tobacco shops and the gambling floors of the three Detroit casinos are exempt from the law.

The law makes Michigan the 38th state to ban smoking in public places. It comes after years of unsuccessful attempts to pass similar legislation and despite the opposition of groups like the Michigan Restaurant Association.

“I’d say a handful (of regulars) are upset about it,” said Don Knight, whose family has owned Knight’s Steakhouse on the city’s west side since 1984. “They tell me they will continue to come, they said don’t worry about that. They just don’t agree with the government telling them what they can and cannot do. But most of them are pretty positive about it.”

Traditionally a popular destination among smokers, the ranks of smokers have thinned in recent years to an estimated 20 percent of clientele, Knight said.

“We’re pretty popular how we are,” he said. “Any time you make a change it’s always a big risk. We feel that we will hopefully get busier. We hear that a lot of people avoid us because of the smoke.”

At the Old Town Tavern in downtown Ann Arbor, co-owners Steve and Chris Pawlicki are of different minds on the ban.

Chris believes the ban will attract new customers who are put off on nights like Fridays, when as many as 75 percent of customers light up. “Even the smokers complain about the smoke, that’s what kills me,” he said.

But Steve worries that prohibiting regulars from smoking will fundamentally alter the dynamics of the longtime watering hole.

“To me, a bar is liquor, tobacco and adults,” Steve Pawlicki said. “You take out one of those ingredients, namely tobacco, you’re mainly just a restaurant.”

The bar currently does an estimated 60 percent of its business in alcohol, and Steve said many servers are nervous about the impact of the ban on their incomes.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the bar business,” he said, “I’m not sure I want to be in the restaurant business. I don’t want to buy any more highchairs. I enjoyed the fact that I was in an adult-oriented business.”

The upcoming ban is welcome news for non-smokers, like Ashley Smith and Seth Meyers, who were grabbing lunch in the sidewalk seating area at the Prickly Pear on Main Street on Friday. Both said they thought the new law might help business.

"It think it's a good idea. Being around people who are smoking is unhealthy," Smith said. At the very least, it can be unappetizing eating outdoors if someone is smoking the next table over, she said. "I think more people will go to bars and restaurants because there is a good percentage of the population that does not smoke and who don't want to be around it."

But some smokers say the law is unfair and might drive them away from purchasing as many drinks at the bar or heading to a restaurant in the first place.


Adam Schlecte of Ann Arbor smokes a cigarette while watching a ball game at the Arena Sports Bar in downtown Ann Arbor. Michigan bars and restaurants will go smokeless on May 1 under a new state law.

Lon Horwedel |

Friends Elizabeth Johnson and Jaclyn Fidler were enjoying the weather on Friday by grabbing a snack and enjoying a cigarette at the tables outside a juice shop in Ann Arbor. Come May 1, they won't be able to do that anymore.

Johnston is incensed about the law, questioning why the state would bar smokers from lighting up in dining areas outside even when others aren't around. She also questions how difficult it will be to enforce.

"It's taking away a fundamental right of choice when it's not impacting anyone," she said.

Not all smokers felt as strongly. Ann Arbor resident Kenta Tsushima was enjoying a cigarette outside and hadn't realized the new law would be in effect in less than a month. At first, he reacted with great disappointment.

But after a few moments of thought, he said he personally won't smoke in his own home and didn't find stepping away from dining areas too difficult. He's been a server before and could see where turnover would be faster for outdoor tables if smokers aren't loitering.

One accommodation he does hope for, he said, is for establishments in Ann Arbor will put heaters outside for smokers during the winter months.

At least 70 percent of the county's 1,100 establishments - including fast food restaurants and community buildings like churches - that can serve food are already smoke free. But that means more than 300 restaurants and bars will be making the switch.

There is precedent for nervous business owners. Similar bans in other states reportedly haven’t had a deleterious effect on business, and some Ann Arbor bars have already taken the smoke-free plunge voluntarily.

Casey’s Tavern snuffed out smoking nearly four years ago and did see a drop — at first. But food revenue rose, as did sales of wine. And the bar gained a more family oriented crowd, said Paul Thomas, the bar’s general manager.

Ann Arbor is “kind of a microcosm” for nonsmokers, he said. “Would I do this in an industrial city by choice? Probably not, but Ann Arbor is a different market.”

Nick Easton agrees.

The owner of the Cavern Club, Millennium Club, Gotham City and Circus Bar & Billiards says the new law could hit traditional shot-and-a-beer bars that don’t serve food and rely primarily on devoted regulars the hardest. But there aren’t many establishments left in the city that fit that bill.

“Not anymore,” Easton said. “It’s too cosmopolitan.”'s Tina Reed contributed to this story.

Sven Gustafson is a freelance writer for Contact him at, or follow him at



Thu, Apr 22, 2010 : 8:47 a.m.

Really looking forward to going to some restaurants and bars that I've avoided.


Thu, Apr 22, 2010 : 8:28 a.m.

I can't wait!!! My son has asthma and is an avid bowler. With that being said I can't even attempt to take him for some early practice because of the smoke. I just feel the average smoker is very selfish and has no respect for how it effects the people around them.


Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 9:33 p.m.

I'm with you, runnergirl! I have not been to Old Town for years. The last time I was there, I had just learned that I was pregnant, so naturally we didn't stay long. So be warned Rusty Shakelford...I will be there with my posse on frequent Friday nights after the 1st. But don't worry, the older three generally keep a pretty good eye on the four that we let run wild!


Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 8:20 p.m.

It's about time! Cannot wait to go bowling, Conor O'Neils, Old Town, Knight's and of course, the Fleetwood.


Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 11:44 a.m.

@Matt Cooper, Thanks for the links, but none of them are studies, just conclusions based upon someone's opinion of the studies. I'm saying that the studies themselves are not conclusive and come to spurious conclusions.

Matt Cooper

Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 9:17 p.m.

Ignatz: So you haven't seen any credible information on secondhand smoke being dangerous to the non-smoker? Well buddy, here ya go. Do some readin'. Mayo Clinic: United States Environmental Protection Agency: (pay attention to the part about the dangers to children involving secondhand smoke. The Cleveland Clinic: This article also states: Who is at greatest risk of being harmed by second-hand smoke? Although any person who spends a lot of time around those who smoke has an increased chance of developing a smoking-related illness, certain people are extremely susceptible to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. These include: Service industry workers, such as bartenders and restaurant servers. People who work in environments where they are constantly exposed to smokers might absorb carcinogens and other harmful substances from second-hand tobacco smoke on a regular basis. This puts them at greater risk of developing respiratory infections and other illnesses. Pregnant women. Second hand-smoke harms not only the mother-to-be, but her unborn child as well. It increases both her and her baby's risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, allergies, asthma, and other health problems. American Cancer Society: And this from the American Cancer Society: Why is secondhand smoke a problem? Secondhand smoke causes cancer Secondhand smoke is classified as a "known human carcinogen" (cancer-causing agent) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds. More than 60 of these are known or suspected to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke causes other kinds of diseases and deaths Secondhand smoke can cause harm in many ways. In the United States alone, each year it is responsible for: an estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers about 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults other breathing problems in non-smokers, including coughing, mucus, chest discomfort, and reduced lung function 150,000 to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age, which result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations annually increases in the number and severity of asthma attacks in about 200,000 to 1 million children who have asthma more than 750,000 middle ear infections in children Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are also at increased risk of having low birth- weight babies. Finally, the Office Of The Surgeon General of The United States: Will this suffice? If not, google the terms "Dangers of second hand smoke" for more information than you can handle.


Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 4:06 p.m.

I don't think it'll increase/decrease business at all. It is annoying when one wants a smoke and all, but we all knew it was coming. I just wish they hadn't outlawed it in any part of a business. You should be able to have a smoking section outside like most other states. I don't believe the "I'm not going to a place I can't smoke in" chatter, just like I don't believe "Finally I can goto all these places I refused to go to before."


Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 11:14 a.m.

Personally I don't believe the smoking ban will hurt business very much. People will grumble but in the end still go out. This issue is not about loss of revenues, only about loss of freedom. I'm actually quite surprised how easy people are ready to give away liberties. Oh well, societies that are ready to part with freedoms deserved what they get.


Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 9:45 a.m.

Cannot wait for May 1! I'll be out visiting all kinds of places I've avoided for years, and look forward to our offices no longer stinking of smoke from the bar below us.


Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 6:31 p.m.

@amlive - Actually, it's not a 'stretch' in the slightest. Noxious fumes from business DO get dumped into homes and neighborhood just like smokers indulging in their addiction are pumping noxious fumes into the air of indoor public spaces. Smokers are forcing others to either: 1) not be able to attend public events, 2) not be able to enter public business, and 3) not be able to patronize specific public (indoor) areas or to smoke with them (risking their health). What gives smokers that right? Nothing. Even very diluted cigareet smoke has been proven to be hazardous. I'm not against people choosing to smoke, but they need to do it in places where they are only harming themselves. @Shea - And no, I don't have a car, though I do drive. And yes, I have owned cars. And no, there is no sane tautology between smoking and auto exaust. You aren't ever going to be sharing an indoor restaurant with a running Ford Focus.


Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 6:19 p.m.

I am excited about the ban - we were planning to take our son to Old Town since we have avoided it with him due to the smoke (but we really enjoy the food and drinks there) - but it doesn't sound like Steve wants our business,so perhaps we'll have to find a place that does welcome our family.


Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 6:16 p.m.

This is only the beginning...!! Can't wait for next year when the U-M says you can't smoke OUTSIDE anywhere on U-M property...don't believe me? Sound impossibly silly? Sound like the nanny state over-reach of all time? Well...get ready. Complete and utter madness. I hope their is an uprising. I don't even smoke and I am outraged. They serve alcohol at "private events"...condone the selling of trans fat laden junk food AT THE HOSPITAL and all student unions...but say you can't smoke s cigarette outside anywhere on campus where it bothers no one but yourself? The ultimate irrational position. Wow.


Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 1:11 p.m.

Thanks for the link Sven! Much easier.

Sven Gustafson

Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 10:21 a.m.

trs80, yes, you can still smoke while walking down the street. Check out http:/ for more.


Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 10:08 a.m.

Why are people still debating this topic? The law passed. On May 1, restaurants and bars will be smoke-free. End of discussion. Congrats, non-smokers. You've won. Now please stop rubbing salt in an open wound and go away.


Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 9:45 a.m.

Can I get a little more info on this... What does it mean smoking will be banned in public places? When walking down the street to my car I will not be able to smoke? Or outside of the mall, away from the door of course, I will not be able to smoke? Im confused...


Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

I guess my days of going out are are over. The self righteous appear to have triumphed once again.


Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 9:14 a.m.

@ tdw, I'm forced to inhale your secondhand smoke if I go to a bar/club/restaurant with my friends, colleagues, and/or wife. I glad that you'll have to smoke elsewhere. Private establishments must follow or comply with regulatory laws.

Adam Jaskiewicz

Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 9:01 a.m.

I have some problems with the ban. Part of it stems from my political leanings, which are rather libertarian, but mostly I think there should be an exemption for places that can demonstrate that they have adequate smoke-handling equipment. If anyone has been to La Dolce Vita, they know what I mean; the place has people smoking cigars, but isn't smoky. You can catch a whiff if you walk through the smoking section on your way to the restroom, but it's not a choking cloud of the stuff at all, and it doesn't get upstairs into the non-smoking area despite the open staircase. Such places have invested a lot of money to make sure that smoking doesn't impact their non-smoking customers. Maybe there should be some special licenses for various types of smoking-allowed establishments. That said, I'll enjoy going to smoke-free bars and restaurants. I'm not especially bothered by moderate levels of smoke, but my girlfriend is; I'll be able to take her to more places now.


Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 8:29 a.m.

I'm disappointed that the state chose not to impose the ban at the Casino's. I went to MGM a few weeks back and had to leave after 45 minutes because I was completely overwhelmed and turned off by the smoke.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 10:13 p.m.

L. Brooks Patterson of Oakland County said his county would not enforce the ban, as he saw it as an unfunded mandate. Oh please! This suggests that every other law that gets passed comes with its own bucket of money for enforcement. Do we really believe that's true? What a crock. He's just pandering to his base with statements like that.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 10:02 p.m.

"if you don't want to smell smoke, DON'T GO INTO AN ESTABLISHMENT THAT ALLOWS SMOKING! how hard is that to understand?" Yea, seriously. Why can't whether or not to ban smoking be left up to individual establishments? Are we going to force all restaurants to serve mexican food as well just because lots of people like mexican? There's really no difference here. If you can't get what you want at a business then don't go there! Passing a law to force a business to serve up what you want, just so you can have what you want where you want it, is ridiculous. Lets ban smoking at cigar bars too while we're at it!


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 8:02 p.m.

amlive, In this economy, why should employees have to decide between the high risk of a horrible death from lung cancer and a job that allows them to live indoors? I've watched family members destroy their health & die from lung cancer. A terrible, preventable thing...


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 7:22 p.m.

it never ceases to amaze me how stupid people are. you really need the government to tell you how to live? if you don't want to smell smoke, DON'T GO INTO AN ESTABLISHMENT THAT ALLOWS SMOKING! how hard is that to understand? "oh, smokers are SO stupid. they're killing themselves." yeah, so how stupid are the people who whine about smoking, yet KNOWINGLY enter such establishments? before you open your mouth about democracy, go look into tyranny of the majority. you can't think for yourselves, and you have no principle in your lives. you're a bunch of sheep.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 6:25 p.m.

I live in Dowagiac, Mi. Everyone is so worried about this smoking ban and all they have to do is get an electronic cigarette. It's just nicotine and water vapor and you can use it in all the non-smoking places. I found mine at


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 5:26 p.m.

I'm an occasional smoker. I don't mind the ban in restaurants and other places that are family oriented. Personally - even as a smoker - I do not like cigarette smoke while I'm eating. I don't like my kids being shut up in a room full of smoke. (I don't smoke inside my home.) However - I think it should be left up to bar owners as to whether or not they will allow smoking in their establishment. Especially places that require ID or where there is an age requirement to come in. The only thing they really should have to do is provide good ventilation - nothing worse then a smoke filled bar. If people don't like going to a bar that allows smoking - they are free to go elsewhere.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 5:24 p.m.

"Having a no-smoking section in a bar or restaurant is like having a no urinating section in a pool." If the owner of the pool wants to let people urinate in it, it's not really that hard for me to choose not to swim there. This is not about people urinating in the pool, it is about the government telling the owner of the pool that they can't do that if they're in to that sort of thing. Big difference. There are plenty of other pools for me to swim in.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 4:37 p.m.

I would assume that you don't drive a car Tarc.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 4:33 p.m.

Tarc, I'm with you! Having a no-smoking section in a bar or restaurant is like having a no urinating section in a pool. I can't wait to go back to Knight's and Fraser's again!


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 4:32 p.m.

I'm a smoker and frankly, I don't care about bans in public places. Just as non-smokers were given the freedom to not a visit a place because of smoking, I too have the right to abandon a place that doesn't support my habit. It would, however, be much more fun to go and then bitch about it, wouldn't it? And as far as "I force you to inhale my smoke", no I don' don't have to walk towards me, when I'm outside 50 feet away from the building just so you can do that "pretend" cough. Just because you believe you've finally found a righteous cause for which you can point your finger and say "oh, they're bad because they smoke" making yourself feel better in the process, just remember...the finger can turn. Just a hunch, but I would be the next targeted group would be the obese. I can't wait until the target becomes a little less obvious, say people who eat a gallon of ice cream while watching re-runs of The outer those are people that should have a finger pointed at them :d

Tom Joad

Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 3:46 p.m.

California has had it for years with success. No one wants to breathe someone else's smoke, not today.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 3:14 p.m.

Tarc, That's quite a stretch. No one is pumping smoke in to the neighboring houses and businesses. This is about what goes on inside, which only those who freely choose to enter the property will be subjected to. No one is exposed to anyone "spewing poisonous and cancer-causing gas into the air that you could not escape from". You "escape" from it by not going in to the bar to begin with! It's a pretty easy choice, just like someone with a peanut allergy can choose not to go in to a bar or restaurant with peanut shells strewn all over the place. This is about how much the government can control what people are allowed to do inside a private property, with the consent of the owner. Of course once the ban is in place, more people walking down the sidewalks will have to dodge crowds of smokers outside each bar, where before they would have been more concentrated inside where only those who chose to subject themselves to it would have had to worry about it.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 3:13 p.m.

Tarc, That's quite a stretch. No one is pumping smoke in to the neighboring houses and businesses. This is about what goes on inside, which only those who freely choose to enter the property will be subjected to. No one is exposed to anyone "spewing poisonous and cancer-causing gas into the air that you could not escape from". You "escape" from it by not going in to the bar to begin with! It's a pretty easy choice, just like someone with a peanut allergy can choose not to go in to a bar or restaurant with peanut shells strewn all over the place. This is about how much the government can control what people are allowed to do inside a private property, with the consent of the owner. Of course once the ban is in place, more people walking down the sidewalks will have to dodge crowds of smokers outside each bar, where before they would have been more concentrated inside where only those who chose to subject themselves to it would have had to worry about it.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 2:44 p.m.

Nearly all of the responders here fail to recognize the core of the issue. If a corporation was operating in your neighborhood spewing poisonous and cancer-causing gas into the air that you could not escape from, you can be sure they're be a lawsuit, an end to the gas production, and financial renumeration for the harmed parties. What makes a smoker any different? Nothing. Smokers can poison themseves all they wish; the current law says nothing about that. What it does do is prevent smokers from endangering the general public by eliminating a primary site of unwanted exposure. Secondhand smoke prevents people from even entering many places of business, and can be fatal (to asthmatics, for instance) to people on s single exposure. There is no doubt that nicotine is as addictive as most illegal drugs, and as damaging as most environmental toxins. This ban is a no braining for improving the state, it's businesses, and the health of it's citizens.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 2:36 p.m.

I can hardly wait for the ban - ah to not cough and feel ill for 3-4 days after 2 hours at a bar...wunderbar!


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 2:33 p.m.

The main issue I see is simply personal property rights. If I own a bar, and I want to smoke in it (so long as what I'm smoking is otherwise legal), and I want to let my customers smoke in there, government should not be able to tell me what I can and can't do there, so long as the only people it affects are the people on my property. If what I do could also affect the neighbors, that's one thing, but if it's my property I should be able to live by my rules, within reason. If I allow friends over to my house, or if I hire a maid to come in and clean it, or a plumber to come over and fix my sink, does the government have the right to tell me I can't smoke in my own house? Can smoking be banned in all apartment complexes because service and maintenance personnel regularly work in them? If the guests or contractors who come over don't want to be around the smoke, they don't have to come over or take the contract. Bar or home, guest or patron, employee or contractor. I don't see much difference in principle. There's a fine line between the government protecting the public good, and overstepping their boundaries in to personal property rights. It is my opinion that they are clearly stepping over that line here.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

I could be wrong, but I don't think that the main problem some critics have with this ban is the fact that it discourages an unhealthy habit. I would think some people are opposed because it is an example of the state taking away a freedom. If they can tell citizens that this is simply a ban on an activity that is not "good for us" which also endangers the health of others, who is to say they could not also try to restrict other activities that THEY deem are not "good" for us. Some people, including myself, do not like the idea of the government encroaching on peoples' freedoms when they should be focusing on other more important issues at this time. Just my take on it, and I'm even in favor of this ban.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 1:47 p.m.

People the State has no power over you and to tell you where you can bloody smoke. remember these so called politican's work for us.SMOKE WHERE EVER YOU WANT TO.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 1:47 p.m.

It's just plain nutty to say this is an over-reach of government. 2nd hand smoke is proven to cause harm to the public. Legislatures enact laws to protect the general welfare of the public. Clearly this is within that mandate. And smoking bans elsewhere have generally increased business for bars and restaurants, not decreased it. It might be expensive to enforce but I think that will be mitigated, likely, by smokers largely obeying the law.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 12:49 p.m.

Pawlicki's comments are funny. Perceiving smoke as a way to keep those noxious children out of his environment is hilarious. Steve - maybe if the Old Town could stop serving such darn good food, you could reduce that problem....

David Briegel

Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 12:40 p.m.

Sorry gang, the debate is over. It will be the law on May 1st. You just need to figure out how you will obey the law. this law will be good for business just as it has been everywhere it was enacted. May 1st, first Obama and then a smoke free Knights! See you there Vicki!!


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 12:34 p.m.

It's too bad Michigan establishments will have to choose between serving food or becoming a "cigar bar". Would have been much better to use the good old liberal free market approach and have each establishment determine if they want to be smoking or non smoking. Then, let the customers decide which they prefer. Ah those conservatives and their regulations to restrict our freedoms. I wonder if there is also a loophole around the smoking ban by becoming a "private club". I have not heard anything about this yet. Michigan is in a state of economic trouble (still) and you would think legislators would be trying to help grow the economy not stiffle it with stupid legistlation. Take for example the alcohol license quota of 1 per 1600 people. Can't think of a dumber idea and no better way to prevent new restaurants from thriving.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 11:42 a.m.

The smoking ban is fair since it was passed by the State of Michigan instead of county or local governments. Most restaurant owners have wanted to eliminate their smoking sections over the years as most customers are non-smokers and the health trend is toward a smoke free environment, but they are scared to lose smokers; especially in establishments that primarily serve alcohol. But now that the entire state will be smoke-free, there is no chance that customers would stop going to smoke free restaurants in one local area and in favor of the neighboring town. This was the case in Toledo a few years ago. Many smokers went to bars and restaurants in neighboring towns like Sylivania, Perrysburg and the townships within the city. When the entire State of Ohio went smoke free a couple of years later, customers returned to their favorite spots and the problem was solved. It is also a good thing to ban smoking on outdoor seating as well. This eliminates the groups of smokers who stand in front of the business smoking their brains out over huge barrel ashtrays. Most places aren't set up for constant traffic in and out of the building to accomodate smokers without disrupting the entire operation. This is what I currently see in Ohio.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 11:06 a.m.

@amlive I'm far right but I have to agree with you on this one.If owners were so eager why did'nt they do it themselves? As for your comments about unhealthy food, I see it coming.NYC has already started doing it.

vicki honeyman

Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 11:05 a.m.

I'm looking forward to hanging out at the Old Town...smoke-free...especially for Sunday night music.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 10:54 a.m.

If they're all so eager, why in the world do they have to wait for the state to mandate it? Yes, smoking is bad. Yes I hate the way my clothes stink when I come home from the bar. Still, this troubles me in terms of government's governing of private owners' choices of what occurs on their private property. I'm a little left of socialist on most issues, but this move disturbs me in terms of government overstepping their bounds. If the issue is centered around society's better interest in maintaining public health, why don't they focus on what they're actually serving to eat at fast food restaurants instead. Obesity creates a far greater burden and cost on our public health than smoking or cancer does. Our government would probably see better results in improving public health if they were to tax and limit on fats and sugars (or at least quit subsidizing corn sugar and let natural market prices take care of some of this for us). I suppose stinky Marlboros make an easier bad guy target than Coke and Snickers though, even though it may be a bit disingenuous. I know, employees who work at McDonalds can choose not to eat their food, but a bartender can't choose not to breath the air. I get it. Still, it's a bit defeatist to argue that there are no practical choices available for workers who don't want to be exposed to smoke. If I were a bar owner, I feel I should have the right to say "this is my bar, this is what we do here, if you don't like it, don't apply". Yeah, smoking is bad, smoking stinks, bars and restaurants with smokers make non-smokers stink, and certainly pose a health risk. It's probably less risk to employees than the food they eat on break though. That's not the point that bothers me though. Try telling a bar owner up in the UP that they can't smoke in their own bar (that they own), nor can their employees, nor can any of their customers - I can't think of many better ways to make people hate their government any more. This kind of bill is going to solidify the image of overbearing Big Brother in a lot of Michgander's minds, and I fear the repercussions of anti-government mentality both at the polls and in rallying propaganda for the next Hutaree militia.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 10:37 a.m.

This whole thing should have been left up to the owner of the establishment. This is just feel good legislation. Makes the politicians justify themselves. Next the gov't will want to ban salt, trans-fats, and sugar to protect me from myself. And don't tell me it's to protect the workers etc... No one forces you to work there. I see the gov't protected there interest by allowing smoking at the casinos.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 9:49 a.m.

outside will not be banned as long as there's designated smoking areas. Some places in Minnesota people end up hanging at the entrances if they bar owners don't make allowances, so they'll have to figure something out. People I've met there have figured things out with it, and it gets colder there!!! so really there isn't much Michiganders can complain about :P College students maybe but they always complain lolz.

Mike D.

Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 9:13 a.m.

Customers have a choice where they eat and drink, but people working in restaurants and bars shouldn't have to choose between a paycheck and health. There are many laws that protect workers from unsafe working conditions, and this is just one more. Bravo Michigan for finally getting it done.

Bob Johnson

Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 9:10 a.m.

Many neighborhood bars won't be so eager after winter arrives. Illinois bars learned this two years ago.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 9:05 a.m.

I'm looking forward to the ban. I can't name the number of places I've stopped going because of the smoke. As an asthmatic, I found that over the years I've become very sensitive to smoke. It's been a long time since I've bowled, played pool or darts at a bar. The times I did though, I payed for it for days. I'm one of the non-smokers who will put my money where my mouth is. I'm planning to go to the places I couldn't before the ban. Fraser's, Banfield's, Colonial Lanes, The Arena, Aubree's, it will be good to be back.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

"Poisoning the people around me is preferable to the slight inconvenience of removing myself to a safe distance to feed my addiction." In a nutshell that is it. Revenue will probably increase at bars and restaurants as the majority of customers do not smoke and more of them will start showing up. Like the scare tactics that if we "take" someones right to hunt doves next up will be gun bans, or if we regulate Lehman Bros investment will dry up, the false outcomes predicted by the polluters will not appear. The outcome will be better for servers, customers, public health and owner revenue. But, I am sure we will read comments from those that want to light up next to children, claiming somehow the evil govt has stolen their rights.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

I can understand about not smoking inside when the establishment doe not have adequate filtration. Why ban it outside? I've seen no credible studies about second hand smoke being harmful. I do remember a Surgeon General stating that it was bed, even with the lack of scientific evidence. Even if was proven harmful to others, I'm sure the studies were not done out of doors. L. Brooks Patterson of Oakland County said his county would not enforce the ban, as he saw it as an unfunded mandate. He may have reversed that, though. For a good counter argument to the ban have a peek at this: "Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State" by Joe Jackson.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 9:03 a.m.

I'm looking forward to eating (and drinking) at Old Town again. I stopped going regularly years ago, but went there on a Saturday night recently with out-of-town friends. We left before ordering food - it was so smokey you couldn't see the far end of the bar.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 8:48 a.m.

"They just dont agree with the government telling them what they can and cannot do." Disagree with the government saying they can't poison the people around them? Seriously? I wonder how smokers would feel if I put a few drops of diesel fuel in their water supply. Not enough to make them sick (right away), but enough to smell and taste and have long term health effects. Would that be OK? Would they defend my "right"? Would they defend my "personal freedom" to poison their water supply with equal zeal as they do for poisoning the air I breathe? Doubtful. Every argument against the smoking ban boils down to this, "Poisoning the people around me is preferable to the slight inconvenience of removing myself to a safe distance to feed my addiction."


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

@Chris If one goes to a privately owned establishment on their own will, how are they being "forced" to do anything?


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 8:08 a.m.

I'm just a little concerned on having all these people on the streets going through withdrawal symptoms :O! but yea i've gone to most of these places as a non-smoke and always given them respect due to their habit. Always makes me think twice for talking to someone when they light up. It's just plain showing consideration. yea yea you're addicted, I prolly have a slight dependency on my alcohol habit. It's not making smoking illegal, it's getting people to control it's usage, which affects more then the person directly using. but i'm soo sorry, we know it's going to be hard /pep


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 7:56 a.m.

It is simple, if you smoke you force me and anyone else around you to inhale your secondhand smoke. If I drink, you do not have to sample my drink unless I vomit on you or you ask for a sip. All I have heard about the smoking ban is positive and I can't wait to go out and play pool again. :)


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 7:53 a.m.

sorry I meant I did'nt see who it was


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

I know of a few bars who have said screw the ban.They won't enforce it.I also heard some nearby county sheriff said he won't enforce it.I see who it was.Any info folks?

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 7:43 a.m.

Perhaps Michigan could outlaw alcohol as well! - causes alot of drunk driving accidents, causes cerosis of the liver, and a host of back activities by those who drink too much.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 7:34 a.m.

Waiting for that non-smoking ban. Stopped going to Knight's and Ashley's because of the smoke. It will be nice to go back.