Cigar Aficionado

Michigan Nears State Smoking Ban

The Michigan Senate voted 25-12 last week to pass a bill that would ban smoking in all workplaces, including and tobacco shops.

Last December, the House narrowly approved its own version of a bill that exempted cigar bars, casinos and tobacco shops while prohibiting smoking in restaurants and bars.

The Senate, in a controversial move, opted to change the House version of the bill to include all workplaces. The bill's proponents cited public health and second-hand smoke as primary reasons for changing the bill's language.

Opponents of the bill argued the measure was an invasion of privacy by the government into private businesses.

"This is just amazing to me that we would be doing this without giving these restaurants and bars some mechanism whereby they can cater to people who wish to smoke, especially in areas where there is going to be very severe competition for their food dollars and for their cigarette dollar," Senate Majority Leader Michael Bishop said on the Senate floor.

The bill must gain final approval from the House before Governor Jennifer Granholm can sign it into law.