May 30, 2008

Another report proves a smoking ban is good for business

The evidence keeps piling up that a workplace ban, including bars and restaurants, will be a good thing for public health and will help business and not hurt it.

Grand Valley State University marketing professors Frederic Kraft and Suzeanne Benet have just concluded a study that shows non-smokers are more likely to go to a place that bans smoking and it’s less likely that a smoker will not go to a place simply because it bans smoking. It also voiced what most people already know or suspect: the interests of non-smokers should take the lead. If less than a quarter of the population smokes, why do we believe so few people carry so much clout, and why do we allow a small minority to endanger so many people’s health?

According to the Business Review Western Michigan, Kraft said non-smokers are "…more likely to take their business elsewhere if smoking is not effectively regulated, if not banned altogether.” This is in sharp contrast to the small, vocal minority who threaten to no longer go to a bar of they cannot light up inside.

It is also clear that groups who oppose it, like the Michigan Restaurant Association, are getting money from tobacco companies. Benet hinted at that in subscription only MIRS. "It appears that the voiced displeasure of a relatively small number of smokers has been unduly amplified by representatives of the tobacco industry,” she said. “This study indicates that smoking restrictions make a much greater difference to non-smokers than to smokers, and the impact of smoking on non-smokers should be the primary concern of hospitality industry decision-makers."

Earlier this week, the House approved a substitute to House Bill 5074 that banned smoking in workplaces, with the exception of non-Native American casinos, bingo-halls and so-called “cigar bars.” Earlier this month the Senate approved HB 4163 that was much more stringent and had no exceptions or so-called carve outs.

The GVSU report is the second report this month to be released that bolsters the fight to make Michigan smoke free. Earlier this month the leading Lansing research firm Public Sector Consultants Inc. released a report called “Smokefree workplaces: The Impact of House Bill 4163 on the Restaurant and Bar Industry in Michigan” that summarized 43 other studies and six public health reports across North America that have examined the economic and health aspects of banning workplace smoking in some form. The report concluded that "the vast majority" concluded there is no net economic impact on bars and restaurants. It also included polls showing increasing public support for bans, with support even stronger after bans have been enacted.

It’s unclear when the ban will be taken up by the Senate. Majority Leader Mike Bishop is a fierce opponent of the ban, and he kept the original bill bottled up in committee for months until overwhelming public support for the ban forced him to allow a vote. He may let it die in committee again and say he only promised one vote on the bill not two. However, the crowd at the Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference on Thursday let him know in no uncertain terms they support the ban.

According to subscription only Gongwer, “Bishop drew a pretty harsh reaction from the crowd for arguing freedom of choice in smoking.

When he proclaimed that people have the choice whether to patronize places that allow smoking, members of the audience asked about the choices of those who work in those places. "It's a small number of people,” he said. These people have the opportunity to choose where they want to work," he said to boos from many in the crowd.”


Anonymous said...

I think something will pass this year. With public support and some GOP caucus support, I don't think Bishop will bury the bill twice.

It may or may not exempt the casinos, but most of the other exemptions in the House bill are small and have been accepted by other states with bans.

The House retains the choice of still passing the Senate's version as well.

I think the House wants some dialogue on the issue, which the Senate has not given as of yet.

Communications guru said...

I hope you are correct. However, I think the time for dialog is long passed. Sen. Ray Basham has introduced this bill every session for the past 10 years. In that time, the only time it got so much as a committee hearing was last June when the first of two committee hearings were held in the House.

Thanks for the input.

bob said...

article »
Mama Mary's to close doors for good Saturday

May 29, 2008Recommend (2)

By David Schwab, Staff writer
Mama Mary's Restaurant, a family-owned, old-world style Italian eatery in Chicago Heights, will serve its last linguine with clams, bowtie alfredo and pizza on Saturday.

After 13 years at 96 E. 24th St., the Lucarini family, with "Mama" Mary Lucarini at the helm, will call it quits, citing a mixture of tough economic times, a slowdown in business after January's smoking ban and most importantly, an aging 87-year-old Mama Mary whose "health comes first," said her children.

» Click to enlarge image

Mary Lucarini, chef and owner of Mama Mary's restaurant in Chicago Heights, is closing her restaurant Saturday after 13 years in business.
(David Schwab/SouthtownStar)
"We want to go out while we're on top and on good terms with our customers," said her son, Ron Lucarini.

While it still maintains a handful of loyal customers who come in every week, the place that used to pack in diners on Friday and Saturday nights now is lucky to seat five tables on a weekend, Ron Lucarini said.

Mary, though, sounds like she wouldn't mind keeping it going, despite the downturn.

"As long as I've got somebody to eat, I'm gonna cook," she said.

She did admit, though, "it's about time to retire. The last couple of years left ... I want to enjoy them."

The restaurant is a throwback to the old days. It's entirely family-run - from the delivery guy, her grandson, to the waitress, her daughter, to the bartender, another son.

Dean Martin pictures hang on the wall as far as the eye can see.

Bottles of crushed red pepper perch atop red, white and green-checkered tablecloths.

Everything about the place feels old, nostalgic, homey.

"Everyone felt like they were at grandma's house when they're here," said Rosemary DeBergh, Mary's daughter, who used to wait tables full time.

Besides the home-cooked food, it was the contact with Mama Mary that the family said became the place's winning touch.

Customers would, "go right straight back to the kitchen" to see Mama Mary, DeBergh said, watching her cook, asking her what's good tonight and simply saying hello.

Customers, both new and old, are invited to stop by during the restaurant's final week to get one last taste of Mama Mary's cooking, the family said.

On Friday evening, a week before closing, Mama Mary talked a little restaurant history, posed for some photos - and then headed right back to the kitchen.

There, bins of cheese, green peppers, tomatoes and rolls of pasta were laid out before her.

She began making something. And she looked right at home.

bob said...

It's good for Phizer and Chantix.

Communications guru said...

I don’t see the point of this story. You cannot possibly blame the smoking ban. The most important reason for the closing was in the article, “most importantly, an aging 87-year-old Mama Mary whose "health comes first," said her children.”

Anonymous said...

Contrary to the careless assertion you made in your post, the Michigan Restaurant Association doesn’t receive any funding of any kind, either directly or indirectly, from tobacco companies. All of our positions on legislative issues are arrived at solely through frequent polling of our members and vigorous discussion by our board of directors.
While we understand that you disagree with our position on the smoking ban issue, please attempt to refrain from factual misrepresentations regarding our organization.

Communications guru said...

I find it rather ironic that you accuse me of a careless assertion, but you make the accusation anonymously with no identification at all. I stand by what I wrote.

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