Michigan government officials have debated a statewide smoking ban for nearly a decade. Last week, a bill made progress toward passage.
The largely Democratic state House of Representatives passed a proposal by a 56 to 46 vote that would ban smoking in almost all indoor public spaces. The ban would encompass almost all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Proponents cite public health reasons for backing the ban, while opponents point to the rights of private business owners as a reason to oppose it.
"We consider this an important first step in our fight, but we will continue to advocate for all workers to be protected from secondhand smoke," said Judy Steward of the Campaign for Smokefree Air in an Associated Press report.
"The owners of their businesses are the people that are in the best position to make the decision [of whether to allow customers to smoke]," said Andy Deloney of the Michigan Restaurant Association. "The MRA continues to support the ability of its members to make this decision for themselves."
Casinos, horse tracks, bingo halls, cigar bars and smoke shops would by exempt from the smoking ban. To remain smoky, a cigar bar would need to generate 10 percent of its income from the on-site sale of tobacco and tobacco-related goods; the figure for a retail tobacco establishment would be 75 percent.
The bill is widely predicted to draw greater opposition in the Republican-controlled state Senate.
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