Jun 14, 2010
Support the workplace smoking ban by playing the lottery on Saturday
Apparently the billons of dollars the tobacco industry has spent over the years to convince smokers that they have some constitutional right to smoke and poison the majority of non-smokers with deadly secondhand smoke is paying off.
A group of bar owners is claiming that 22 percent of the people who still smoke in Michigan is having an effect on their business, despite studies and the results of bars and restaurants that are doing a booming business after the May 1 workplace smoking ban went into effect and numerous studies and results from the 38 other states with bans.
Apparently, bar owners will refuse to sell Michigan Lottery games from 11 a.m. Saturday, June 19 to 2 a.m. June 20. They have a Facebook page full of lies, and they say they will not sell “Keno, pull tabs, Lucky Lines, Daily 3 and 4, Fantasy 5, and Classic Lotto.”
I don’t play the Michigan Lottery much, but I am going to make it a point to go to a local bar in downtown Howell and play one. I urge you to do the same.
The group is claiming that this is a “private property” issue when the fact is that this is a public health issue, and the Michigan Legislature not only has the right to protect the public health they have a Constitutional duty to do so.
This is not the first Facebook group to spread lies to stop something that has overwhelming support of Michigan residents, and according to the Detroit Free Press, the person organizing the boycott claims they have “enough supporters to cost the state lottery between $12 million and $18 million in sales.”
That claim is as ridiculous as the one that just 22 percent of the population can have such an economic impact.
That’s money bar owners will lose in commission from lottery sales, and I’m more than happy to make sure that the commission goes to bars that care about the health of their customers and employees.
The Free Press said “a boycott would draw the attention of the Michigan Lottery Bureau.” Lottery spokesperson Andi Brancato said “lottery retailers have agreements with the state to sell tickets, and those contracts could be reviewed by the lottery bureau.” In other words, they could lose their license to sell lottery products if they refuse to sell to customers.
The “leader” of the misguided boycott is trying to pass the lie that such a boycott will not hurt public schools. That is simply not the case.
The fact is the Michigan Lottery has contributed $15.2 billion to Michigan's educational system since 1972, including more than $600 million in 10 of the past 12 fiscal years. Almost all of the money, 95 percent to be exact, goes to fund K-12 public education. Unfortunately, lottery money only makes up 5 percent of the $12.8 billon K-12 budget.
Go to your favorite local bar next Saturday and play the lottery. If they decline to sell you a game ticket, go to another bar that will, and then lodge a complaint with the Michigan Lottery at (517) 335-5600.