Dec 1, 2009

Home of the Marlboro Man goes smokefree today: Michigan, not so much

LANSING -- Today is not only the first day of December, but it also marks the day that the smoking ban in the largest tobacco growing state in the nation goes into effect.

In Virginia, the home of the Marlboro Man and the largest cigarette factory in the world, you can no longer light up in a bar. The ban, approved in March, excludes private clubs and restaurants with separate rooms with independent ventilation systems, as well as open-air outside areas.

It makes the Michigan Legislature’s inaction even more disgraceful and disappointing, and we are one of only 13 backward states that does not have a workplace smoking ban.

Since the House approved House Bill 4377 last May with bipartisan support, there has been zero action on the bill, despite overwhelming support both in the Legislature and from the general public.

The Campaign for Smokefree Air launched the “Act Now or Forever Hold Your Breath” grassroots campaign aimed at refocusing lawmakers’ attention back to protecting Michigan residents from the deadly impact of secondhand smoke in October, and it may be showing some results. The rumor in Lansing is that the bill may be taken up soon.

Contact your Legislator and urge them to both take up the bill and vote for it when legislative leaders actually allow an up or down vote.

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