Michigan hotels must ban smoking May 1

Smokers will find very little hospitality at Michigan hotels and motels after May first.

“To be clear, all rooms are non, have to be non-smoking,” said James McCurtis, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health.

The change comes May first with Michigan’s new statewide smoking ban, yet three out of four Michigan hotels contacted today by News Center 16 did not know about it.

While smokers will still have the green light to puff on the golf course, there are other areas of the great outdoors that will soon be off limits. The new law bans smoking on restaurant patios and outdoor beer gardens.

“Outdoor or patio seating if they are connected to the bar or the restaurant they cannot allow, they cannot smoke in those facilities,” said McCurtis. “Waitresses, and bartenders typically work in those areas as well and this ban is designed to protect employees.”

The Brew Ha Ha coffee shop in Niles offers outdoor seating. Employee Laurie Breneman figures the new smoking ban will cause some confusion.

“The patio hasn’t been considered a non smoking area,” said Breneman, “That’s usually where the smokers go, and so now I don’t know if they got to stand out on the street, on the sidewalk, or what they’re going to do.”

At the Niles AMVETS Post 1978, patrons recently took part in a statewide petition drive aimed at state lawmakers. The petitions ask that private clubs that cater to veterans be exempt from the smoking ban.

“The guys are just feeling like they're being punished for no reason at all,” said AMVETS 1978 Commander Gary Stansbury. “Business wise, we’re going to lose money.”

Stansbury is among the club members who remember when their government gave them free cigarettes.
“Military, you get a C-ration,” said Stansbury.

“You open it up, and there you’ve got your different styles of food and stuff and there's a four pack of cigarettes inside of it,” Stansbury recalled.

The change in public policy that now promises to ban smoking at the private club is enough to put Stansbury and others in a fighting mood. “I can’t come in my own post and smoke, that's almost like telling me I can't go in my home and smoke, I don't believe that.”

The state has put together a comprehensive question and answer sheet. You can find it be clicking here.


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