Michigan to Enact Smoking Ban May 1

Last summer, we reported on two Michigan bars voluntarily going smoke-free inside of their venues. Now, what was voluntary for some will become a state law for all May 1, as the state enacts the smoking ban signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm last December.

The Magic Bag, a popular lounge, and the bosco, a live music venue, both located in Lansing, Mich., became the first Michigan bars to voluntarily ban indoor cigarette smoking. The move, they say, was a direct challenge to the state to enact a smoking ban. At the time, the operators, brothers Daniel and Jeremy Haberman, said concerns that a smoking ban would ruin business were unfounded; almost a year of operating smoke-free, they stand by that assessment.

“It’s funny when people say ‘it’s impossible to enforce’ or ‘it will never work’,” says Jeremy, owner of the Magic Bag. “We haven’t had a single enforcement problem. Not one.”

Daniel, co-owner of the bosco, agrees. “How anyone who has ever traveled outside of Michigan could oppose smoke-free air is beyond me. This is the way the majority of the civilized world works now.”

Under the law, individuals and business owners found in violation will be subject to penalties of $100 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses. Casinos, cigar bars and tobacco specialty shops are exempt from the ban.

The 2,500-member Michigan Licensed Beverage Association lobbied against the ban, due to fears of negatively affected business. A majority of states (26) have enacted statewide bans on smoking in enclosed public spaces; seven more have smoking bans that prohibit smoking in all enclosed public areas except bars and casinos; still others have laws prohibiting smoking in certain public areas.