Apr 30, 2010

Enforcing the smoking ban

Thousands of Michigan residents will breather easier tomorrow May 1 when the popular workplace smoking ban, known as the Dr. Ron Davis Smokefree Air Law, goes into effect.

The more than 12 year fight will come to and end at 6 a.m. Saturday when the law goes into effect, and it will be a day of celebration. Like any new law, there will be a few glitches, and despite some misunderstanding over enforcement, they have been ironed out.

The Campaign for Smokefree Air has put out simple and clear guidelines if the law is not being followed.

“It will take a couple of months for us to reach the compliance levels we would like because this is a big social change. We would like most issues to be dealt with inside the establishment by the owners or managers. Our goal is to help local health departments and not overwhelm them with complaints.”

If you see any people not complying with the smokefree law:

1. The first thing you can do is politely ask them to stop. In most cases, people will stop smoking because it is the law.

2. If they do not, you should tell an employee or manager at the establishment. They should take care of it.

3. If you see that the business is intentionally ignoring this issue, at that point, you should let them know that it is the law and you expect them to comply or you can contact the local health department.

4. As a last resort, contact the local health department and find out about their complaint process. Beginning Saturday, for information about filing a complaint visit the Michigan Department of Community Health enforcement web site.

Local health departments will be receiving many complaints in the first month so please try to work with the establishment to deal with the issue. Once you talk to a manager, the issue should be resolved and the health department will never have to be involved. This is the desired course of action.


Michael J. McFadden said...

It's also advisable that owners and workers (and even people in general) read the law itself so that they know what it says.

In brief, according to my reading of it (it's actually pretty clear and easy reading) the law says there is no requirement on citizens to act as unpaid and untrained law enforcers at all. Businesses are required to

1)post no smoking signs,

2) remove fire-safety equipment (ashtrays),

3)"Inform individuals smoking in violation of this act that they are in violation of state law and subject to penalties.",

4)*ASK* the smoker to refrain from smoking, and in the case of food/drink establishments refuse to give further service to an individual while that individual is smoking.

5)And finally, if the individual continues to smoke *ASK* them to leave. (See Sec. 12603, subsection 2 of the law.)

They are not required to act as actual law enforcers in any sense, nor are they required to report on anyone.

Before the ban Michigan citizens knew pretty clearly which establishments allowed smoking and which did not: that's what "No Smoking" signs on the doors were for. Now it'll be hit or miss: some places will really mean "no smoking" and will go to great, even possibly illegal extents to throw smokers out, while others will simply fulfill the law as written and tolerate their smoking customers or visitors.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains" (And no, I'm not a lawyer)

Communications guru said...

Not only are you not a scientist, you’re not a lawyer either. By all means read it. It’s been debated for more than 10 years, so it’s no secret.

True, but since it has overwhelming support, there will be plenty of people, including me, acting “as unpaid and untrained law enforcers.“ I’m not sure how much training you need to ask someone to please stop smoking, and then take it to the manager if they don’t.

Wow. I was a smoker for 20 years, and I have never heard of ashtrays referred to as “fire-safety equipment.” Unbelievable.

All bars and restatements will be no smoking establishments, and it will not be “hit or miss.” Employees will not have to choose between a paycheck and their health, patrons will enjoy a healthier environment and the rate of heart attacks and strokes will decline in Michigan.

I can’t wait until tomorrow. How about you?

Not Anonymous said...

Having people turn in their neighbor. Where have I heard that before? Could it be Nazi Germany?

Communications guru said...

“Nazi Germany?” That’s one of the dumbest things you have ever said, anonymous, among so many dumb things. Much, much more ridiculous than calling ashtrays “fire-safety equipment.”

Anonymous said...