Jun 24, 2010

Bill to do away with casino exception to smoking ban introduced

As promised, the next battle against deadly secondhand smoke got underway today when Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor, introduced Senate Bill 1406 that will do away with an exception for casinos to the popular workplace smoking ban that went into effect on May 1.

SB 1046 would make the Detroit casinos smoke-free and extend to casino workers the same protection bar and restaurant patrons and employees enjoy from secondhand smoke. Basham has been fighting for the health of Michigan workers for more than a decade, and he was a key figure in helping pass legislation that took effect in May to make the state’s bars and restaurants smoke-free.

“Secondhand smoke doesn’t make any exceptions or exemptions, and Michigan law shouldn’t either,” Basham said. “The Legislature finally took action to protect patrons and workers in the state’s bars and restaurants from secondhand smoke exposure, and the men and women who work in the state’s casinos should be extended the same consideration for their safety.”

According to surveys, nearly two-thirds of Michigan voters support a workplace ban that includes bars and restaurants. Michigan became the 38th state to protect its workers from deadly secondhand smoke exposure. South Dakota, Montana, Vermont, Nebraska and Louisiana have strengthened their laws even further to make their workplaces, including restaurants, bars and gaming areas, 100 percent smoke-free. Data from the New York City Department of Finance shows that their tax receipts increased after the city went smoke-free, and there was also significant job growth in its bars and restaurants.

The predictions of a drop in business were not only false, but many bars and restaurants actually reporting an increase in business after the law went into effect.
Last summer air quality testing (AQT) conducted in Detroit’s three casinos revealed indoor pollution levels that were eight times higher than outdoor air, debunking the claim casino operators made in committee hearings on the smoking ban that their ventilation systems should earn them an exception to the workplace smoking ban.

When House Bill 4377 was approved with a bipartisan vote last December that made the Dr. Ron M. Davis Act law, a compromise exempted Detroit’s three casinos and so-called cigar bars because some people falsely believed the propaganda that a smoking ban would harm business. The success of the ban disproved that. Some critics of this public health issue pointed to the casino exception as proof that the smoking ban was not about protecting the health of workers and customers. This bill shoots that argument down.

“Casinos may be a safe-haven for smokers, but they’re like a gas chamber for workers,” Basham said. “Most Michigan bars and restaurants have gone smoke-free without any major uproar or a decrease in business, and have been able to still accommodate smokers without putting their non-smoking patrons and employees in harm’s way. It’s time for our state’s casinos to do the same, and I hope my colleagues in the Legislature will act quickly to pass this legislation.”

Secondhand smoke is the second leading preventable cause of death in the United States, and at least 200,000 workers die every year due to exposure to second-hand smoke at work. In 2006, the Surgeon General concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that eliminating smoking from all indoor areas is the only way to fully protect people from secondhand smoke exposure.


Not Anonymous said...

This just proves the old line. Give an asshole an inch and he'll take a mile.

Communications guru said...

Ah, more uninspired and uninformed comment from the anonymous coward.

carraig said...

You wouldn't have a mini-lotto revolt by bar owners if business was same or higher than before the ban. So that's an obvious lie.

As predicted, some businesses are going to be done in a few months here. Probably a year or so, (through a winter cycle) and we'll see the real impact. I really hope you're right over the long haul.

Last thing we need is all three casinos in bankruptcy. Because Detroit would be hit that much harder and would probably have no recourse other than bankruptcy with the knock on effects for the rest of Michigan.

The effects of the Ontario ban on the old Windsor casino have been well documented.

Shame that Basham has no clue. But I believe he's term limited out this time, so he won't be able to do much more damage to the state.

Communications guru said...

I wouldn’t consider two bars a “mini-lotto revolt.? Mini, yes, revolt, no. Again, I am still waiting for someone to tell me how less than 22 percent of the population can have so much economic effect. The answer is they can’t, and they don’t. That’s why bars and restaurants do as well or better with a workplace smoking ban. Even if it did, this is a public health issue.

I am right over the long haul, and the results from the 37 other states and numerous foreign countries with a smoking ban prove that.

“The effects of the Ontario ban on the old Windsor casino have been well documented?” Really? Then document it.

The only damage to the state is deadly secondhand smoke that is a Group A carcinogen containing 4,000 chemicals, including 43 cancer-causing chemicals that kills 3,000 people in Michigan each year. Smoking directly results in $2.65 billion in annual health care costs in Michigan, of which $881 million is born by the state Medicaid program. In fact, each household spends $597 annually in state and federal taxes due to smoking-caused government expenditures.

carraig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
carraig said...

None of your arguments hold water.

Go into any bar in any small town in England or Ireland and ask them what they think of the smoking ban.

Good luck with closing down the casinos.

Communications guru said...

That is correct, I am right over the long haul, and the results from the 37 other states and numerous foreign countries with a smoking ban prove that.

You “reviewed the state's data?” What data is that? Here is some more data you can try and misrepresent:

The University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy released a study last May that concluded the state's bars and restaurants would not be hurt by a proposed workplace smoking ban. The study said “in economic terms, most high-quality research finds that smoking bans have not had negative effects on the revenues of restaurants and bars.”

Here is the one that really forced a vote in the Legislature. The leading Lansing research firm Public Sector Consultants Inc. released a report called “Smokefree workplaces: The Impact of House Bill 4163 on the Restaurant and Bar Industry in Michigan” that summarized 43 other studies and six public health reports across North America that have examined the economic and health aspects of banning workplace smoking in some form.

For a kicker, here's one from the Indiana University Center for Health Policy called “The Economic Impact of Smoke-free Policies on Business and Health.”

Your car buyer’s analogy makes no sense. If we assume that the less than 22 percent – and falling – of the adult population that still smokes no longer go to bars and drink, that’s less than 22 percent who will have an effect on business. However, that will be more than made up by the people staying away for health reasons, and I guarantee only a few are staying away and will be back.

It will not hurt business, and it will reduce medical costs. In fact, community smoking bans have an immediate and dramatic effect on reducing heart attacks, according to two new analyses of laws in the USA, Canada and Europe,” says a story that appeared in USA Today in September.

“It may increase recreational drug usage?” What utter bullshit. What are you basing that lie on? “It will likely increase overall volume of alcohol consumed?” Based on what? I thought I had heard all the lame arguments, but these new ones, and I must say, what BS.

Communications guru said...

None of your arguments hold water.

Go into any bar in any small town in England or Ireland and ask them what they think of the smoking ban.

No one is trying to close down any casinos. However, we will succeed in banning smoking in casinos.

Communications guru said...

I can’t fault you for removing that lame argument, but just for reference, I’ll put it back so readers know what I’m responding to.

From carraig
"I am right over the long haul, and the results from the 37 other states and numerous foreign countries with a smoking ban prove that."

They don't. I've reviewed the state's data. They define the industry to include McDonalds as well as bars & clubs.
Overseas markets and industry segment specific reviews in the states show that bars, bowling alleys, casinos and others that rely on over-21s are hurt markedly. In many cases, because they are family businesses without easy access to capital, they are forced out of business. Those with capital can refurbish, change if the market is big enough. Those without capital or in a small market (or both) will suffer on for a few years and then go out of business.

There's no difference in medical costs between smoking ban and non-smoking ban states because smoking bans don't alter smoker rates and most second hand smoke victims are family.

Finally, the specious 22% argument. Only 5% of people in the US bought cars 2 years ago. When 2% did not do so the following year, why did the car companies crash ? How could 2%of the population have such an enormous impact ? Because it's not the percentage of buyers who are smokers (and change buying behaviors) that count, not the percentage of the general population who are smokers.

Fact is, you won this war last year. It will hurt a lot of small businesses. It won't reduce medical costs in Michigan or the number of smokers. It may increase recreational drug usage (as it did in rural Ireland). It will likely increase overall volume of alcohol consumed (more home drinking), though sales will be lower.”