Beginning May 1, 2010, smoking is prohibited in most businesses in Michigan. This means it will be ILLEGAL TO SMOKE in places like restaurants, bars, shopping malls, bowling alleys, concert halls, arenas, and health and education facilities.
Hookah bars, home offices, motor vehicles and 18 tribal casinos are immune from the smoking ban. Cigar bars, tobacco specialty retail stores, and the gaming floors of casinos may be granted exemptions from the ban. Bars and restaurants can apply for certification as a “Cigar Bar” to avoid a ban on cigar smoking in their establishment. The application requires that the establishment generated 10% or more of its total gross annual income from the on-site sale of cigars and the rental of on-site humidors 30 days prior to May 01, 2010. The cigar bar portion of the establishment must be physically separated form any areas of the establishment where smoking is prohibited. The cigar bar must also have an on-site humidor installed. Businesses that were considered a cigar bar or tobacco specialty retail stores prior to smoking ban are still required to apply for an exemption. The affidavits to apply for an exemption from the smoke free law can be found at www.michigan.gov/smokefreelaw.
The smoking ban may end up being costly for business owners. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson reported that Oakland County has 4,600 establishments and the cost associated with enforcement would be approximately $1.8 million. Local health departments are responsible for the enforcement of the smoke-free law. However, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health, compliance with the law is the responsibility of the owner, manager or person in charge of the restaurant or bar. In addition, business owners are required to post “no smoking” signs at each entrance and in other areas where smoking is prohibited. Ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia from anywhere where smoking is prohibited must also be removed. This all must be done at the owner’s own expense.
If a business that is not exempt from the smoking ban allows smoking after May 1st, the local health department can be asked to investigate. If the establishment doesn’t stop the on-going smoking, the health department can shut them down. The fine for violating the smoking ban will be $100 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent violations. The restaurant, bar, worksite, and/or smoking patron/employee can be fined.
What do you think?
Is the smoking ban an unfair burden on business owners?
Has the government gone too far in regulating?
Will the smoking ban create a clean atmosphere that everyone will enjoy?