The smoking ban went to the Governor less than an hour ago and the press statements are already pouring in. Rep. Joan Bauer (D-Lansing) hit the send button on this statement around 3:30 today:
“This is truly a historic day for the state of Michigan. I am pleased that the House and Senate have worked together to pass a comprehensive smoking ban that will protect Michigan workers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke in the workplace. The message from the public on this issue has been very clear and the Legislature heard that message and responded. I am proud that Michigan will become the 38th state to pass smoke free legislation.”
Coupla things: first, I am elated that we’ve finally got a workplace smoking ban in place. Even as a pack-a-day smoker when this legislation was first introduced, I agreed with the plan. Why? Well, I smoked because I wanted to. But I hated others’ cigarette smoke hanging in the air around me like big clouds of doom, I hated not being able to take my child to certain “family style” local restaurants because the smoke was so dense, and I hated the idea that other people had to breathe my smoke. Hell, I didn’t even like breathing my smoke, I just liked the nicotine. Second, I’m not sure I feel good that Michigan is the 38th state to get around to the ban. Entire countries have managed to enact bans before us (in all fairness, Greece probably didn’t have a “Say NO” Senate). 38th out of 50 is the kind of finish that leads to a fire sale in sports (unless you’re our beloved Tigers, then a fire sale is a “just because” kind of event). Third, and I hate to be a jerk on this (ok, I am fine being a jerk on this), this ban is not comprehensive. Gaming floors for Detroit’s casinos, cigar bars, tobacco shops, and a few other places are exempt. So it’s good for everyone â€“ unless you’re a blackjack dealer. Then, well, you have to find work at a non-smoking casino. Sorry.
I’m hopeful that we’ll have smoke-free casinos soon, too. Once our lawmakers see the world does not collapse around them when bars and restaurants go smoke-free, they’ll see that casinos can bite the bullet, too.