Bars allow Smoking Inside in Protest Statewide

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

More than 400 bars and restaurants across the state let customers light up indoors starting at 9 o'clock. The Protest Private Property Rights organization says they want lawmakers to give businesses a choice.

"I would choose smoking," said Uli Kaczmarek, owner of Uli's Haus of Rock, "I was thinking about having one night in here so people could smoke."

Uli of Uli's Haus of Rock says his sales number have been down, like everybody else. A new study by the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association shows bars and restaurants across the state have lost 20 percent of their sales since the ban took effect last May.

"As a smoker, I stay home now and hangout out with friends where I can enjoy a cigatrette," said Uli's Haus of Rock customer Justin Bowler.

"It's a huge inconvenience to go outside especially whne it's cold and raining," said another customer Crystal Gullet.

Bars and restaurants that are putting out ashtrays New Year's Eve don't want to go on camera because that's enough evidence to get a call from the health department Monday morning.

"If we have evidence we'll act on that evidence. But it's not a cat and mouse game. We want them to be afraid, but we aren't going crusing for smokers tonight at midnight," said health officer Marcus Cheatham of the Ingham County Health Department.

The health department says the ban has an immediate effect in reducing the state's cardiovascular health problems. Employees that cannot choose a smoking or non-smoking job say they're happy to have the ban.

"I wish the ban was in effect the whole time I've worked here. I have asthma and can use my inhaler less," said Uli's Haus of Rock bartender Allee Kukla.

The health department says more than 70 percent of Michigan citizen's are non-smokers and in favor of the ban. Businesses that allow smoking tonight could face an initial fine of $100. Health officials will only fine businesses where a complaint has been filed and managers are proven to be negligent.


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