On Saturday, May 1, Michigan will become the 38th state to enact a smoke-free law.
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm called for smoking ban legislation in her 2007 and 2009 State of the State Addresses and signed the smoking ban into law on Dec. 18, 2009.
"This is historic legislation that will protect the health of all Michigan citizens," said Director Janet Olszewski of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). "Second-hand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in Michigan, resulting in about 2,500 deaths each year. By creating smoke-free environments we are taking a significant step toward creating a healthier Michigan."
The Dr. Ron Davis Law, which bans smoking in all worksites, including bars and restaurants, will go into effect at 6 a.m. Saturday. Cigar bars and tobacco specialty shops that meet certain criteria are exempt, as are the gaming floors of Detroit's three casinos. Michigan's 20 American-Indian casinos are not covered by state law, so they are exempt as well.
In order to comply with the smoke-free law, businesses are required to:
- Clearly and conspicuously post "no smoking" signs
- Remove indoor ashtrays and other smoking receptacles
- Direct any person who is smoking to extinguish the cigarette, cigar or other lighted tobacco item.
"Studies have shown that smoke-free laws are self enforcing," said Mikelle Robinson, manager of the MDCH Tobacco Program. "Most of the citizens and business owners we have heard from are excited about the smoke-free law and want to make sure they are doing what's needed to comply with it."
The Departments of Community Health and Agriculture have printed a limited supply of free window cling signs that are available at most local health departments. A downloadable sign also is available online at www.michigan.gov/smokefreelaw.
The MDCH will oversee compliance in non-food service establishments. The Department of Agriculture is in charge of licensing restaurants and will handle inspections at bars, restaurants and other places where food or beverages are served. This will be done as part of the routine license inspections conducted by local health departments.
Local health departments and the MDCH are responsible for receipt, response, and resolution of reported violations of the law. Citizens who observe or note possible violations are asked to first notify the establishment's manager or owner. If the matter is not addressed appropriately, citizens can file a complaint with their local health department or the Michigan Department of Community Health, whichever agency is in charge of enforcement in their area. Citizens can find additional information, including an enforcement contact list by county and a complaint form, at www.michigan.gov/smokefreelaw.
MDCH would like to encourage individuals who are interested in obtaining information about quitting smoking to call the statewide Quitline at: 1-800-QUIT-NOW or 1-800-480-QUIT.