Michigan Passes Smoking Ban!12.10.09
The Michigan Senate passed a bill today that bans smoking in public buildings – with a few exceptions, notably the three Detroit casinos. The House is expected to also pass the bill, which would mean that starting May 1, 2010, the law would go into effect.
This is a long time coming and well overdue. Having been around the country a number of times while on tour, I frequented dozens and dozens of clubs and bars, and Michigan, hands down, had the smokiest, most disgustingly air-polluted venues in the nation. In most establishments, it was like they had a fog machine churning smoke into the room. Your eyes stung. Your clothes reeked. The smell of your hair completely nauseating.
Those of us who live on the coasts – or in one of the other 42 most-populated American cities that already have public smoking bans – can find it easy to forget that there are places where you can actually smoke inside a restaurant. Most have designated smoking sections, but that usually just means that a handful of tables have ashtrays on them next to the condiments. Rarely any other effort is made to separate the smoke from the rest of the air. It’s like my mom always complained: “It’s not like the smoke knows to stay in its own section.”
This is a very welcomed law that will give the overwhelming majority (nearly 80% of the population of Michigan are non-smokers) a pleasant breathing experience, for once, when they decide to venture out either for a bite to eat or for a drink. It’s unreal that the poisonous, deadly habit of a few could still be the law of the land anywhere these days, but it’s nice to see that Michigan has stepped up and joined the ranks of the 27 other states that have public smoking bans.
(Image courtesy Guido E. Alvarez)