Dec 16, 2009
Newspaper passes off opinion piece on smoking ban as news
It appears that the news hole of the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus is matching its editorial page or the two are merging, based on an article in Wednesday’s edition on the workplace smoking ban called “Business owners expect to take hit.”
The paper has consistently editorialized against the smoking ban approved last Thursday and even ridiculed it. The fact is there is not one shred of evidence to support the claim that bars and restaurants will be hurt by the smoking ban. How do we know that? Because we are smoke free. have evidence from the 37 other states that are smoke free and entire countries that
We also have Michigan-based studies from respected organizations.
The University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy released a study on May 29, 2009 that concluded the state's bars and restaurants would not be hurt by a proposed workplace smoking ban. Another recent study in the spring of 2008 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” – also found a smoking ban had no negative economic impact on bars and restaurants.
I know the reporter knew about theses studies because I had a friendly debate with him on the smoking ban over the weekend on Facebook. He, as the article shows, is against the smoking ban.
It might be a fair article if it was on the opinion page because the business owners who are quoted in saying a ban will hurt them are basing it on their opinion, not on real evidence or results. Also, no where does anyone ask the questions: how can the 20-23 percent who still smoke have such an effect on business?
The manager of the Howell Bowl-E-Drome makes the ridiculous, baseless claim that “he expects a 25 percent to 30 percent loss of business when the ban goes into effect. “ Does he really believe people will stop bowling just because they can’t smoke and bowl at the same time? Please. Why not challenge that ridiculous claim?
The manager of Lu & Carl's and Stout Irish Pub, two nice places off of Grand River in Brighton that I have been to, is claiming that he will lose business. But the even more ridiculous claim he makes is that customers will drive more than 40 miles to a Detroit casino just to have a smoke and a beer.
If the customer does that, they will also have to gamble because the ban only exempts the casino gaming floor, not the casino’s bars and restaurants. Why was that not brought out in the article? I know the reporter knew about it.
The only restaurant the kills the reporter’s premise is from Livingston County’s most popular and successful restaurant, Stillwater Grill in Brighton. Here is the major difference between this and the claim by the manger at Lu & Carl's and Stout Irish Pub: it’s based on results, not opinion.
It would have been hard to ignore the Stillwater Grill in the story because it is named the top restaurant every year in the poll the paper runs annually.
The Stillwater Grill in Brighton went completely smoke-free on its own about a year ago in both the dining area and bar, and the results have been the same as what we have seen in the 37 other smokefree states.
General Manager Dan Carter said, "We never saw a decrease because of it. We actually saw more people coming in and saying positive things than coming in and saying negative things.”
The bottom line is that this is a public health issue, and even if it did hurt business it should not matter because secondhand smoke is deadly and there is no is safe amount of secondhand smoke. The fact that it does not hurt business is just a bonus.
The Governor will sign House Bill 4377 into law on Friday afternoon, and the smoking ban will go into effect May 1.