Mar 12, 2009
Home of the Marlboro Man bans smoking in restaurants
In what surely must be a sign that the time has come for Michigan to enact a workplace smoking ban that includes bars and restaurants, Virginia became the 35th state to ban smoking in bars and restaurants when Gov. Timothy Kaine signed the bill into law on Monday.
Banning indoor smoking in Virginia is almost like banning gambling in Nevada. Virginia has grown tobacco for 400 years, and the home of the Marlboro man – before he died of lung cancer – is the home of the largest cigarette factory in the world.
The bill is far from perfect because it bans smoking in restaurants unless they have an enclosed smoking room with independent air ventilation. The bill was a compromise between health advocates who wanted an unconditional restaurant smoking ban and conservatives who hold the mistaken belief that this is a choice issue and that restaurant owners should be allowed to decide whether it is in their business interests to ban smoking. But it’s far better than what we have in Michigan. This favors restaurants that have more money to install the equipment.
The so-called “free market” people ignore the new studies that are constantly being released that show the deadly and harmful effects of secondhand smoke.
This is a public health issue, not a free market issue.
It’s time for Michigan to do the right thing and pass the workplace smoking ban.