House Democrats Pass Smoking Ban

House Democrats today passed legislation that would make Michigan the 37th state to ban smoking in most indoor places, including bars and restaurants. The move comes amid ever increasing evidence of the negative public health impact of secondhand smoke. The plan passed 73-31 and now heads to the Senate for approval.

“Secondhand smoke causes thousands of deaths per year that are completely preventable,” said State Representative Bert Johnson (D-Detroit). “This plan will protect our workers and families who regularly face exposure to secondhand smoke in public places, bars and restaurants.”

Secondhand smoke is classified as a Group A carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause or exacerbate a wide range of health problems, including cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).

“The smoking ban puts the health of our workers and families first,” said State Representative Lee Gonzales (D-Flint Township), sponsor of the plan. “By banning smoking in public places we are protecting our families and our children from inhaling this deadly smoke. Smoke-free environments will create healthier communities and save thousands of lives.”

Thirty-six states have passed laws prohibiting smoking in almost all public places and workplaces. The plan passed Tuesday exempts certain cigar bars and tobacco specialty retail stores because those businesses feature smoking as the primary source of their commerce. The plan also exempts casino floors, which would face competitive disadvantages with tribal casinos that would threaten their viability.

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