Smoking ban becomes law May 1; here’s what you’ll need to know

A new Michigan law banning smoking at bars, restaurants, and all other worksites, with the exception of the gaming floors of the three Detroit casinos and existing cigar bars and tobacco specialty stores, will become effective on May 1 of this year.

The Michigan Environmental Council preferred a ban without the exceptions, but supported the final legislation, which was passed by the Michigan Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Dec. 18, 2009.

Some frequently asked questions about the ban are reprinted below, courtesy of the Make Michigan Air Smokefree campaign:

What does the law cover? The law covers any workplace and any food service establishment. A workplace is a site employing at least one person. A food service establishment is any place with a license to serve food or beverages. This includes any public place—restaurants, bars, shopping malls, bowling alleys, concert halls, arenas, museums, mechanic shops, health facilities, nursing homes, education facilities and child care centers.

Does this include restaurant patios? Yes, these outdoor areas where food and beverage may be served will be smoke-free. This includes patios at bars and restaurants.

What about VFW halls or other private clubs? They will be smoke-free. Any establishment that serves food and drink, which requires a license, cannot allow smoking, even if it only serves once a week or once a year. If they don’t serve food and drink, but employ at least one person, they must be smoke-free.

What about casinos? The only place you can smoke in a casino is on the gaming floors of Detroit’s three casinos. Every bar, restaurant, hotel room, conference room and lobby outside the gaming space will be smoke free. State law does not govern Native American land, so smoking may be allowed at tribal casinos.

What about cigar bars and tobacco shops? Smoking may be allowed at existing cigar bars that have a humidor and derive at least 10% of their revenue from cigar sales. Also, smoking may be allowed at tobacco specialty shops with 75% of sales coming from tobacco products. Tobacco shops cannot serve food or drink.

What about hookah bars? Hookah bars can operate as tobacco specialty shops, but they cannot serve food or drink.

What happens if smoking is occurring? If someone is smoking, the owner or manager is required to ask them to stop. If they don’t, the owner or manager is required to deny service and ask the smoking patron to leave. If they still don’t stop, police could be called.

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