Michigan takes another step toward smoking ban

MICHIGAN -- The State of Michigan has taken one step closer to a statewide smoking ban, reports News 11's Shelley Brown.

The Michigan House passed no-smoking legislation back in December, but the Senate's version  calls for more than just bars and restaurants to put out the cigarettes. The State Senate voted 25 to 12 to ban smoking in all bars, restaurants and workplaces.

Since the State of Ohio closed the door on smoking, Michigan businesses like Nick and Jimmy's in Temperance have been reaping the benefits.

"I'd say about 50 percent of our customers come up from Ohio just to smoke here in Michigan, which helps out our business," says Lindsay Miller, who works at Nick and Jimmy's.

Shelley queried some folks to find out how they feel about the pending ban.

Jason Wiskochil of Toledo does not support the ban, saying "I think it's wrong." Many non-smokers, though, and even some smokers, say they're in favor of a ban.

"Honestly, I think it's a good thing. I've smoked 20 years. I'm trying to cut down, trying to quit," says Frank Balazs, a Sylvania resident.

Richard Nearhood, a non-smoker, feels differently.

"It will be nice to come in here and walk out not smelling like a cigarette," Nearhood says.

Unlike the House legislation, the Senate version makes no exceptions for casinos, bingo halls and other buildings. Some in the hospitality industry fear this could hurt business while others feel the smoking will continue.

"People will still go. If you can't smoke, they'll go outside," says Angelica Leal, a non-smoker.

If Michigan closes the door on smoking, some say businesses will finally be on a fair playing field.

"If we have a ban everywhere, there won't be any problems, or they won't have anyone suffering because everybody's banning it," says Temperance resident Christine Smith.

The Michigan House could vote as early as next week on the proposed legislation. Governor Granholm says she will sign a smoking ban.

Posted by KO