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MDCH Kicks Off Smoke-Free Public Education Campaign

Contact: James McCurtis, Jr. (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health, Department of

April 9, 2010

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recently kicked off a Public Education Campaign to raise awareness on the statewide smoke free law, which takes effect May 1, 2010. A large number of local community tobacco coalitions and health agencies will be conducting presentations to community groups and businesses across the state about the specifics of the law.

"The smoking ban is a very important law that promotes health and protects residents from the dangers of secondhand smoke," said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. "We are excited to partner with various groups and organizations to help educate the public and businesses about a law that will help us all live in a healthier environment."

MDCH has developed a Web site that communicates the details of the law, provides information for businesses on how to comply with the law, and that contains affidavits to apply for the cigar bar and tobacco specialty shop exemption. The Web site also has a Frequently Asked Questions section that answers the most commonly asked questions about the smoking ban. In addition a new television PSA titled "Smoked Lasagna" will run in partnership with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.

On Dec. 18, 2009 Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm signed legislation that will prohibit smoking in public places such as restaurants, bars, and hotels, or any place that serves food or beverages. The Ron M. Davis Law, named after the late chief medical officer of the Michigan Department of Public Health, takes effect May 1, 2010, and will make Michigan the 38th state to ban smoking in public places.

The new law allows exemptions for the gaming floors at the three Detroit casinos, but the other casino bars and eateries must be smoke-free, including the casinos' restaurants and hotels. Michigan's 20 American-Indian casinos are not covered by state law. Cigar bars, tobacco specialty shops, home offices, commercial trucks and motor vehicles are also exempt.

Businesses that are planning to file for the tobacco specialty shop and cigar bar exemption are encouraged to go to the Web site www.michigan.gov/smokefreelaw to obtain the proper forms for filing. Due to provisions outlined in the law, affidavits and applications for the exemption will not be accepted prior to May 1, 2010. Individuals and business owners who violate the law will be subject to penalties of $100 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.