Bills Pending to Allow Smoking on Restaurant Patios

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

David Ghannam owns the Irish Pub and Grill, but he doesn't know how much longer he'll be in business.

"You can only suffer losses so long," he said.

On top of rising food prices and a poor economy -- he's battling the smoking ban.

"They might have one beer and then leave because they dont like having to get up, go outside, smoke, come back in, go outside," he said. "My customers cannot even go outside on the patio and have a cigarette because its connected to building, even though it's open air."

New legislation aims to change that. The house and senate are seeing bills that allow smoking on patios or in a designated room. That's okay with former smoker Bill Robbins as long as there's some separation.

"Not intermingled because I know some people it really makes them sick," he said.

Since the smoking ban took effect people are less likely to sit down and play Keno. In fact sales are down 15 percent, meaning about $17 million less for Michigan schools and less profit for business owners.

Ghannam says he's lost $275,000 in Keno profits alone.

"The people that would stop in here and have a beer or two, play Keno, sit at the bar talk with their friends, they stopped going out," he said.

"We stay home and drink, eat," said Scott McQueen, a smoker. "A lot of restaurants we don't go to just because of the ban."

That's pretty common, according to the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association.

"A lot of businesses that do have a lot of smoking clientele, their numbers have dropped significantly, some even up to to 40 percent," said Lance Binoniemi.

That's the price, some would argue, for smoke-free air.

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  • by annie Location: grand ledge on May 1, 2013 at 05:23 AM
    If I want to smoke outside on a patio I should have the right. If you don't like stay AWAY! we should make a law if your FAT and can't come into a bar!
  • by Mike Location: Michigan on May 2, 2011 at 12:09 PM
    Almost every state with a smoking ban -- Ohio, for example -- permits smoking on outdoor patios with food or drink. Michigan allows people to stand in front of the patio on the public sidewalk and smoke all they want. What difference does having a drink in one hand matter?
  • by LeAnn Location: Webberville on May 2, 2011 at 11:09 AM
    Every smoker out their has their rights - these include the right to pollute your own lungs as much as you want, the right to have your breath smell like a used ash tray quite often combined with mint in a sad attempt to cover up the disgustingness, the right of your car always smelling gross and lowering the resale value, the right to sit in your own home and puff yourself literally to death, but where I feel the line should be drawn is your "right" to pollute the air of anyone who might be around you whenever you and your disgusting habit are out and about in a public place. Quit your whining - better yet, why don't you quit a disgusting habit that's proven harmful and is becoming less and less accepted and tolerated. You are all ostracizing yourselves; non-smokers are not doing it to you, YOU ARE! Seriously, either quit your whining about it or quit your smoking. People will not start shedding tears because you can't cloud up the air wherever you go, so get over it.
  • by anonymous, also on Apr 30, 2011 at 12:26 PM
    I totally agree about the perfume. I have had dinners ruined also. In a theatre it is difficult to get away from. My pulmonologist as a sign in his office asking people not to wear perfumes and scented lotions etc. Perfumes (and flowers) give me an instant headache and make me cough terribly. In fact I have more of an adverse reaction to perfumes than to cigarettes.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 30, 2011 at 11:27 AM
    I will never patronize a bar or restaurant that allows smoking on its property. I will vote against any legislator, even years from now, that votes for any legislation that weakens the smoking ban. If anything, it needs to be strengthened; example, by banning smoking in casinos.
  • by Mike Location: lansing on Apr 30, 2011 at 11:11 AM
    even briefly being exposed to second hand smoke is harmful. I feel it as the same a someone who poisons people with arsenic, this same thing due to fact people who smoke knowing attempt to shorten peoples lives. see for more info smoking should be illegal in the first place due to it being the same as poisoning all the people around you, more info at
  • by Anonymous on Apr 30, 2011 at 07:42 AM
    BRAVO , and Sign this Bill into ACTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We all have rights, yet some are getting trampled on. This ban was unconstitutional to begin with, it needs to be fixed! (and for the ig norant person who says' NON smokers deserve OUTSide Dining too, GET A LIFE you want to eat outside, fine, but smoking in OPEN air is what you will need to deal with..or stay home and eat in your back yard)
    • reply
      by Mmm-kay on May 2, 2011 at 09:01 AM in reply to
      It's okay for others rights to be trampled on, just not the ones where you are included in the group, in this case smokers, eh? Very nice of you, very nice indeed. How about if YOU stay home and smoke your lung-clogging, smelly, cancer-causing cigarettes at home in YOUR back yard????? I'm so tired of the whining from you "poor, displaced" smokers. Here, let me see if I can squeeze out a tear for you - nope, sorry, I just can't
  • by pat Location: Michigan on Apr 30, 2011 at 12:56 AM
    The places that are complaining should look at how they are running their business. My friends & I are still discovering places we are loving thanks to the smoking ban. Some are places none of us have ever been to because we heard they were smoky or have been to once and either left or never went back because of the smoke. I gave up playing Keno because I never won anything. The article isn't clear which Irish Pub... The one on Saginaw, we used to go to years ago for lunch when we were still working because they had good food but it was too smoky to go to very often. Maybe, we ought to start going there again. We went to the one in Eastwood once but it was no big deal. I agree with the smelly perfumes but at least that smell passes where cigarette smoke seems to attach itself to clothing & hair so that I have to go home & shower before I can continue my day. I recently went to a casino and didn't stay long because of the smoke. It really made me appreciate the no-smoking law. Lots of other states (Colorado & even parts of Texas if you can believe that) have no smoking laws and they are doing just fine. Michigan will do fine too as soon as the places that don't know how to attract customers are weeded out.
  • by Tina on Apr 29, 2011 at 10:26 PM
    I agree with the comment about perfumes. I have asthma and perfume is worse to me then cigarette smoke.
  • by Dan Location: Lansing on Apr 29, 2011 at 10:19 PM
    What are the facts? 1. The bars are losing money. Why? Loss of customers (smoking), the non-smokers aren't coming in either! 2. The State of Michigan is losing money also, Why? Lose of sales from lottery, and lose of income from liquor sales. Now all owners in the past have had the chance to go non-smoking, leaving others as smoking establishments as a place to go. With this both smokers and non-smokers had (their) choice of where they would go to enjoy their free time. This is the basis of freedom of choice!
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