MDCH Studies Show Wide Support for Smoke-Free Air Law

Contact: James McCurtis Jr (517) 241-2112

LANSING – According to a recent public opinion study conducted by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), more than half of the 2,289 smokers surveyed either quit or tried to quit smoking after the Michigan Smoke Free Law went into effect in May.

In August, the MDCH surveyed a total of 6,900 residents from 76 counties on various topics regarding the smoking ban. Overall, more than 70 percent of Michigan residents support the smoke-free air law. In addition, more than 80 percent of participants thought that secondhand smoke was a serious health threat to non-smokers.>/p>

"The purpose of the smoke free law is to protect employees from the risks involved in second hand smoke," said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. "The law is not only protecting employees, but it is encouraging people to kick the habit. That is good news for Michigan and the overall health for Michigan residents."

More than 85 percent of those surveyed also said there was either no change or that they went out to eat more often in restaurants and bars after the law went into effect.

In a recently conducted compliance study, the MDCH randomly selected 964 food establishments in 59 counties and found that 95 percent of them were smoke free. More than 85 percent of the same businesses, which included restaurants, bars and bowling alleys, took measures to comply with the law, by posting a ‘No Smoking' sign in the building and removing ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia.

Last month, the MDCH released a complaint survey that showed the state received 583 complaints about patrons smoking in restaurants or bars since the smoke-free law passed. Of those complaints received, local health departments issued 158 citations to either individuals or restaurant and bar owners. Violators of the law are subject to penalties of $100 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.

For more information on the smoke-free law, please visit www.michigan.gov/smokefreelaw.