Jul 26, 2010
Workplace smoking ban has widespread support in Michigan
Just over 75 percent of Michigan residents are in favor of the recently passed workplace smoking ban, and 88 percent thought that secondhand smoke was a serious health threat to nonsmokers, according to a statewide survey conducted by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Tobacco Section between March 1 and April 23.
The nine question survey assessed knowledge about secondhand smoke, knowledge of the law, support for the law, and behavior change related to the law; specifically whether participants would eat out more often if smoking was prohibited in bars and restaurants.The survey was distributed to clients receiving services at local health departments in 80 of Michigan’s 83 counties and through 8 agencies serving populations disparately affected by tobacco use, and it included 10,030 participants.
The smoking rate in Michigan is around 22 percent and falling, and that seems to be confirmed by the 25 percent who were not in favor of the law. The survey was conducted before the law went into effect on May 1, and overall, 89 percent of those surveyed reported that they would go out to eat more often or no change if smoking was prohibited in restaurants and bars. That seems to be reflected in the fact that bars and restaurants are doing well, despite the Bush recession and cries of wolf from bar owners.
However, the same survey will be conducted again next month in August, and the results of the pre- and post-law implementation surveys will be compared.
The Livingston County Department of Public Health (LCDPH) was one of the participating agencies, and they reported similar results, with less people here supporting the ban. The survey found just 63 percent favored the law, and only 79 percent know that secondhand smoke is deadly and causes a variety of diseases.
Like most places, there have been few complaints about the ban, and people are accepting it, with the exception of a few misguided people.
“The implementation of the state smoke-free air law has been relatively smooth,” said Jennifer Lavelle, Health Education Supervisor for the LCDPH. “We’ve received very few complaints so far, and businesses are complying with the requirements of the law.”