MDCH Releases Smoke-Free Air Law Complaint Survey

Contact: James McCurtis (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

October 7, 2010

LANSING - Local health departments across the state received 583 complaints about patrons smoking in restaurants or bars since the smoke-free law was implemented in May, according to a complaint survey recently conducted by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). Of the 583 complaints received, local health departments issued 158 citations to either individuals or restaurant and bar owners. Violators of the law are subject to penalties of $100 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.

"It is pretty remarkable that the local health departments only issued 158 citations considering the number of food service establishments that are in the state," said Janet Olszewski, Director for MDCH. "The survey demonstrates that the law is truly working and people are compliant. This is good news for Michigan's restaurant and bar employees and patrons."

The survey covered about 37,000 food service establishments in the state that fall under the jurisdiction of 45 health departments in the state. Data were collected from 37 of the 45 health departments. Seven counties did not respond to the survey including Alpena, Cheboygan, Midland, Montmorency, Presque Isle, Sanilac, and St. Joseph. While the state did not fund those counties for the first quarter of the smoke-free law implementation, they are funded for the current fiscal year.

Local health departments also issued five cease orders to food service establishments, which shuts down a business until it complies with the law. As for non-food service establishments, 173 complaints were received and 11 citations were issued. For more information on the smoke-free law, please visit www.michigan.gov/smokefreelaw.