Jun 20, 2008

Smokefree proponents push to get ban in place before election break

LANSING – With just one week left in the Michigan legislative session before the summer break, proponents of the workplace smoking ban, including bars and restaurants, are making one last big push to get a clean smoking bill to the Governor.

The Campaign for Smokefree Air placed print ads in the state’s largest circulation newspapers urging lawmakers to pass a clean smoking bill that has no exceptions or so-called "carve outs." They are also urging members to contact their legislator, as well as House Speaker Andy Dillon, to urge them to act.

As you recall, the Senate passed House Bill 4163 in May that had no exceptions. But the House punted and passed a vehicle bill, HB 5074, that banned smoking in workplaces with exceptions, including non-Native American casinos, bingo-halls and so-called “cigar bars.” The House still has 4163 to act on, and supporters are asking the House act on that bill. The Senate has also not indicated if it will act on HB 5074.

The Senate was spurred into action in May after sitting on the bill for months by a report by the leading Lansing research firm Public Sector Consultants Inc. called “Smokefree workplaces: The Impact of House Bill 4163 on the Restaurant and Bar Industry in Michigan” that concluded there is no net economic impact on bars and restaurants.

The coalition is also saying the same thing for casinos. According to statistics provided by Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, a year after Delaware implemented comprehensive smokefree legislation, state revenue from gaming increased by 3 percent to $5.7 million. According to the California Board of Equalization, California’s bars, casinos and gambling clubs continue to profit since going smoke free in 1998, and sales increased from $8.64 billon in 1997 to $11.3 billon in 2002. Since the Massachusetts smokefree law went into effect, net keno sales have increased $121,000 per year.

Casinos that are not smokefree have up to 50 times more cancer-causing particles in the air than highways and city streets jammed with diesel trucks in rush hour traffic. A recent study of 17,000 gamblers in Las Vegas found that four out of five gamblers do not smoke. No one can explain how one in five people can carry so much weight and have so much more money than the rest of us.

The decision to create the carve outs came out of fear that the three Detroit casinos will lose business to the Native Americans casinos that do not have to ban smoking. Again, no one has explained how such as small group – only 21 percent of the state’s population smokes – control so much money or why they have so much power. It also makes no sense that with gas costing more than $4 per gallon, why any sane person would drive 160 miles – the distance from the Detroit casino – to the nearest Native American casino just to smoke a cigarette. It is easier to drive to Windsor where casinos are smoke free, and many people do so, in spite of the congested Ambassador Bridge and the passport hassles.

To contact your state Representative, go to www.house.mi.gov to find your representative’s email, fax or mailing address, and a mass email to supporters are urging them to send the ad as an attachment. You can also call the American Cancer Society at 1-888-NOW-I-CAN today and ask to be transferred directly to your state Representative.


Anonymous said...

As I said hefore, ANR's study notwithstanding, in states and provinces that have banned smoking, casino revenue has declined -- at least in the short-term: Do a Google search for casino revenue in Ontario, Illinois, Colorado, Atlantic City, etc.

Revenue is down. They can debate the causes, but these smoking bans have not boosted revenue.

Ontario officials were quoted just this week in the Detroit News on the effects the ban had on the Windsor casino:

Holly Ward, a Caesars Windsor spokeswoman, said an average of 80 percent of the casino's patrons come from the United States, mostly from Michigan, Ohio and other nearby states.

"We've had a lot of obstacles, including the smoking ban which caused double-digit drops in gaming patrons we had coming in," Ward said.

The lack of any exemption for tobacco shops, and to a lesser extent, cigar bars, puts it at odds with the bans passed in 32 other states, almost all of which exempted such places (at least tobacco stores).

I doubt they'll move the bill until the fall.

Communications guru said...

Perhaps someone cam tell me how revenue declines when we protect the majority from the minority? Does the 21 percent who smoke in Michigan – a number that falls everyday – have that much money and clout? I don’t believe it. The smoking ban is not about boosting revenue; it’s about protecting the public health. But as the post says, it does boost revenue.

I know the operators of the MGM Grand are trying to use the situation in Windsor after the ban as a reason for the casino exception, but the obstacles this Holly Ward does not talk about is the hassle getting over the Ambassador Bridge.

As for tobacco shops; like I said before, when I was a smoker, I went to the store to buy cigarettes. Not to smoke them there. I suppose it’s different with cigars, but not much. Again, I could live with some compromises, but a clean smoking ban benefits everyone.

Brett said...

You keep saying that only 21% of the state are smokers. You also said in this post that there are less smokers each day.

I did some research. The University of Michigan as well as a couple of other sites. The smoking rate in Michigan is 23.8%. Teen smoking was declining until a few years ago, now it's increasing again.

Since we're not living under Jennifer Granholm's 8.5% unemployment rate, that figure will likely increase even further.

There are also sites that indicate that the smoking ban does not increase revenue to the casino's as anonymous said. Yet you insist on giving the opposite of the facts.

As I said in one of your many previous obsessions with this topic, the best way for you to dictate to everyone how they should live their lives is to make tobacco illegal. Anything other than that is just to try to lead people around by the nose to live by your standards or lack thereof.


Brett said...

I made one mistake in my last post. Third paragraph should read "...NOW living under Jennifer Granholm's 8.5% unemployment rate".


Communications guru said...

The number in Michigan is 21.9 percent. I choose to round down. Here’s a link - www.makemiairsmokefree.org/know-the-facts.php

According to the American Cancer Society, the national rate is even lower,
“About 44.5 million US adults (20.9% of the population) were current smokers in 2004, the agency reported. That's down from 2003, when 45.4 million US adults (21.6%) smoked.”

Obviously you want to nit-pick, so the average of your number and mine is 22.4 percent. But then all I have for proof of your number is your word; not very reliable. Perhaps the smoking rate among people under 18 is rising, but most adults are quitting. I smoked from about age 17 to about age 36.

I’m not sure what the unemployment rate has to do with the discussion, but I lived in Michigan when the unemployment rate was in double digits, and the rate of inflation was also in double digits. But that was under a republic president. You can’t possibly blame the governor for the state’s largest employer and their suppliers losing market shares. But you are blaming her for everything else, so why not that.

There are also sites that say a smoking ban increases revenues, and I provided them in the past along with a link. But this is not about profit; it’s a public health issue. You insist on attacking with no facts.

I am not trying to dictate to anyone how they live their lives. Unlike you, I believe in choice and freedom. If you want to make tobacco illegal, you go right ahead. If you want to smoke, that’s your business, but no one else should be subjected to your harmful second hand smoke.

Brett said...

I'm quite sure that you don't know what the unemployment rate has to do with smoking. You'd have to read the facts to find that out. Here's a little hint, simplified to help you. Unemployment causes stress, smokers and reformed smokers see smoking as a way of reducing stress.

Interesting that you blame Presidents for Michigan's high unemployment rate. Blanchard left office with a huge unemployment rate. During Englers terms, it came down to 3.1%, now we have Granholm and it's headed towards double digits again. But I understand, you prefer to blame Bush.

So if you're going to blame Bush for Michigan's worst unemployment rate, then you'll have to give him credit for the 48 states that are thriving. Under Bush, the average nationwide unemployment rate has been lower than the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. This despite an inherited recession (which really wasn't a recession), the attack on this country that set the economy on its' ear.

But hey, don't let facts get in your way.


Communications guru said...

But hey, “I don’t let the facts get in my way?” I notice you make a lot of claims with very few facts. I know what your opinion is, and this is just one more misguide one.

That’s a heck of a stretch to link a smoking ban with Michigan’s unemployment rate. It’s not only a stretch, it’s irrelevant. “Unemployment causes stress, smokers and reformed smokers see smoking as a way of reducing stress.” Wow, one more ridiculous opinion from you. If they’re unemployed then maybe they will have trouble buying them. A pack of cigarettes costs, what, $5?

What’s interesting about blaming the president for the high unemployment rate? I believe I have asked you this question before and you continue to duck it. How does the governor, any governor, effect trade and monetary policy; the two biggest factors that affect the economy? How can the governor, any governor, be blamed for the state’s largest employer losing market share? The Big 3 sells cars all over the world, not just in Michigan.

During Engler’s term he had a president that erased the budget deficit and presented bush with a surplus that he promptly squandered on an unnecessary war. What huge unemployment rate are you talking about that Blanchard left office with? He inherited the highest unemployment rate Michigan ever experienced, except during the Great Depression. In November 1982 Michigan had the highest unemployment rate in history at 16.9. The lowest was 3.2 in March 2000 right before you claim Bush inherited a recession. By the way, is this the same recession you hammered me for claiming were are in? So your claim the unemployment rate was 3.1 under Engler is, apparently, just one more lie from you. Here’s a link: http://www.bls.gov/web/lauhsthl.htm

If you think the other states are thriving then you are ignoring we are in a recession.

But hey, don't let facts get in your way.

Brett said...

To believe we are in a recession only shows that you don't know what the definition of a recession is.

Please show the two consecutive quarters that the economy has grown at a negative rate. Good luck with that.


Communications guru said...

Wait, you’re the one that said Bush II “inherited a recession,” and now you claim there isn’t one. Amazing. Unlike you, I’m not an economist. Leading economists like Alan Greenspan says we are in a recession. I’m going to take his opinion over yours.

It always amazes me what you choose to hammer on and what you choose to ignore. You are always short on facts.