Some Bars Plan Smoking-Ban Protest

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

LANSING -- Mike Ryan says the smoking ban is killing his business.

"Stupid. I thought these people aren't very smart who run the state," says Ryan, who owns Auggie's Pub in Lansing. He says he's seen a 25 percent drop in sales since the smoking ban went into effect in May, and no sign that the bleeding will stop anytime soon.

"It'll get worse in the winter, 'cause people aren't gonna want to go outside when it's 0 degrees out," he says.

But Ryan says he won't be part of a state-wide protest planned for New Year's Eve. At 9 p.m. on December 31, some businesses are going to let the customers smoke -- as a protest to the smoking ban.

(The fine for first-time offenders is $100, increasing with each offense from there.)

Auggie's, after all, isn't the only local bar feeling the pinch. A new survey by the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association shows that since the law went into effect, sales are down more than 20 percent at businesses holding liquor licenses.

And for mom-and-pop bars -- it's worse.

"The average for that group is a drop in sales of about 30 percent," says Peter Broderick, spokesman for the MLBA. "These are the small mom-and-pop places -- places that have been in the community for decades."

But that number is disputed by the state, which says sales tax collections have actually increased since the law took effect -- suggesting that most businesses that sell alcohol are actually doing better.

Restaurants, for one, have seen a jump in sales under the new law, as more non-smokers feel comfortable going out for a bite.

Though that does little to comfort Ryan, who says his restaurant is on the verge of collapse.

"It's getting closer and closer," he says. "Every month, it seems to go down little by little."

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  • by LeAnn Location: Webberville on Jan 3, 2011 at 05:44 AM
    Human, you made it as a statement with an underlying tone that changes would most likely lead to repealing such bans (as in you were making them sound useless, pointless, and on the way out). Why don't YOU just go away and stop spouting useless rhetoric simply for an argument. If you truly are an actual human with brain power, then maybe you should try using it for something useful instead of further supporting a cause championed by people who choose to live unhealthily and attempt to infringe it on everyone around them. I think I'll just choose, after this post, to let you self stroke your own ego and allow you to carry this on by yourself.
  • by Human on Dec 29, 2010 at 09:10 AM
    @LeAnn: Did I ever say that the ban would be repealed? NO. I said other countries have changed their bans, never said repealed outright. How about you just take a reader's comprehension class and get back with us later.
  • by LeAnn Location: Webberville on Dec 29, 2010 at 03:53 AM
    "Human", making changes, as often happens with new laws and regulations, to such bans does not mean they've been repealed so the point still stands that it's a spreading occurance, "Buttercup". Aren't you just adorable with your little one liner attempt at a slam though. Awww, so precious. Head back to the playpen and let the big kids carry on this discussion now.
  • by Human on Dec 28, 2010 at 07:37 AM
    Actually other countries have changed their bans on smoking due to the economic impact it has caused, Buttercup. Ha ha!
  • by Jen Location: Williamston on Dec 28, 2010 at 03:37 AM
    What I'm tired of is the smokers who shout about their "rights" being violated. What right of yours is being violated? Not one as smoking is not a right. I've talked to friends of mine who still smoke who have no problem with the ban; they still go to the bar and out to eat, they just go outside to smoke, and yeah, they even smoke a little less. For all the smokers out there, I have a question. Do you go over to your non-smoking friends' houses and light up in their living rooms, or would you even think to ask if it's okay? Probably not yet you feel it should be allowed for you to smoke wherever the heck else you want that many non-smokers go. Hypocritical is all you are if you say you should be able to smoke wherever you'd like because you then violate the actual right to relatively clean air for a lot of the rest of us. This is not going away. In fact, it will be happening more and more everywhere, just as it is all over Europe. Suck it up, Buttercups.
  • by Human on Dec 26, 2010 at 01:00 AM
    I think one of the worst side affects to this ban is how smokers get knocked down and dragged thru the mud. I hate the way the anti crowd degrade and deplete human beings. This law has brought out the self-righteous types to whom on a good day I wouldn't want to share a table or a beer with. I feel for these owners and their staff and I will not deny them their truth. They are losing their livlihoods regardless what the antis say. I am not a smoker.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 25, 2010 at 07:17 AM
    A more effective ban on smoking is require business to have special permits to allow smoking and to raise the tax on smoking. Both of these sin taxes are ok if the goal is to eliminate smoking in our state.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 24, 2010 at 04:27 AM
    This should of been up to the business owner.At least they should of been given the chance to make smoking areas so not to get the least order to the non smoking.Lack of business says less taxes one has to pay due to income.Less taxes,we see what that does to a state.The long term effect is never thought of till it's too late.Jobs that went over seas is proof of what not planning can do.I don't smoke but I do care about the loss of business effect.With out taxes needed.What is going to happen to the people and a state?Or this country?It all adds up.
  • by likethelaw Location: Holt on Dec 23, 2010 at 08:33 PM
    As parents of young children, we are overjoyed that we can finally go to some of the best burger joints in town and not worry about having our children with us, gagging on smoke while trying to eat, or reeking like stale cigarettes when we get home. The economy still sucks and we can't eat out as much as we'd like, but rest assured that we are trying out "new" places that we previously used to avoid due to smoking patrons. On a side note - our family will not patronize any businesses that participate in this protest. If it happens when we are there, we will demand any entrance fees returned to us and leave immediately.
  • by Bob Location: Lansing on Dec 23, 2010 at 07:58 PM
    The only stupid ones are the bar owners. Havent they come to the realization that the economy is in ruin ? People simply cant afford to go out and eat. I like going out to eat without having to smell like smoke or breathe that poison. Also some of the places that are complaining are some of the filthiest so I wouldnt eat their again anyways. Clean up you act, entice people to come in with specials, and STOP pressuring people with your "up sell"
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