New smoking ban will benefit Michigan citizens

I came across this article and with May quickly approaching I wondered what other people’s views were on this subject.

Smoking Ban to Benefit Michigan Citizens

Beginning May 1, Michigan will become the 38th state to ban smoking from all workplaces, restaurants, and bars. Exceptions include gambling floors of casinos, cigar bars, tobacco specialty stores, home offices and motor vehicles. This bill is a milestone in recognizing the importance of minimizing exposure to secondhand smoke for everyone.

This bill advocates for workers’ rights to a safe and clean working environment. For too long, bartenders, waiters and other employees of these establishments have had to suffer through their work days and nights in a smoke-filled environment. Why have the rest of us been able to enjoy clean air and they have continued to suffer? Spending 30 minutes in a smoke-filled room is the equivalent of a nonsmoker smoking one cigarette. Therefore, these nonsmoking employees are actually smoking around 16 cigarettes in an eight-hour shift. This bill shows these employees that Michigan cares about their health and well-being and respects their right, just like anyone else, to work in a smoke-free environment. Both smokers and nonsmokers alike should feel good about the opportunity to support equality in the workplace.

Some smokers, although not most, argue that this legislation is unreasonable.

But aside from causing a minor inconvenience, they, too, are benefiting. Most smokers I know don’t enjoy secondhand smoke or appreciates smelling like an ashtray when they return home from a night out. Furthermore, smokers still can enjoy their cigarettes outside just like they would while shopping or going to a movie or sporting event.

As a nonsmoker, the argument for a smoke-free bill is obvious. When returning home from a bar, restaurant or bowling alley, I won’t smell like a cigarette, suffer from itchy red eyes, a scratchy throat or restricted breathing and won’t need to be concerned with possible health conditions as a result of inhaling secondhand smoke. In Michigan alone, thousands of people die each year from illnesses caused by secondhand smoke, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health. Nonsmokers’ health no longer should be at risk because of a decision that other people are making. They deserve the right to enjoy their evenings in a clean, smoke-free atmosphere.

You can support the smoke-free Michigan bill by planning a night out with friends. On May 1 to show local bars, restaurants, and other establishments that their businesses will profit because of this legislation and that you support workers’ rights.

Emily Betros,
organizational and community practice graduate student