Places like Tripper's Bar in Lansing have become a smoke-free environment since Michigan implemented an indoor smoking ban almost 2 years ago.
"I do think it has brought in new families, new clientele, people that normally wouldn't have come here in the first place," said manager of Tripper's, Mitch Pero.
While businesses have come to terms with the law, the smoking ban is stirring debate in the state legislature. The senate passed its version of the Department of Community Health's budget. In it is a narrow exception to the smoking ban, though Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) says the real purpose is much larger.
"Ultimately what the Republicans want to do is get rid of the smoking ban altogether. This is the first chip," Sen. Whitmer said.
The exemption sponsored by Republican Senator Howard Walker allows charity fundraisers in business 10 years or more to be exempt from the ban. A spokesperson from his office specifically mentioned the Father Fred Foundation cigar dinner and said the exemption is to make sure long-running fundraisers remain successful.
Sen. Whitmer maintains it's just another effort to eventually get rid of the ban.
"It's unfortunate because we know it's enormously popular with the general public."
Mitch Pero admits Tripper's did lose some business when the ban was first implemented, but says numbers have picked up because the bar has become a more family friendly environment.