Staff Editorial: Smoking Ban Welcomed

NW Staff

A state bill has banned smoking in restaurants and bars and will go into effect on May 1, affecting many places that students frequent in Marquette. Some businesses, like the Upfront, have already made the change to be a smoke-free environment. Though it’s true that this bill is inconvenient for smokers who now have to go outside for a cigarette, we believe it is a step in the right direction to improving public health.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 49,400 people die from secondhand smoke per year. It can cause lung cancer, heart disease, bronchitis, and emphysema. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, and as not enough restaurants are following the trend of going smoke-free, it only makes sense that the government step in to resolve a problem that is affecting people who make the decision not to smoke.
Efforts have clearly been made on the part of restaurants in the past, but nothing is going to change until the smoke is taken out entirely. Restaurants that divide their seating into “smoking” and “non-smoking” are fooling themselves thinking that the smoke is unnoticed by people in other sections.

“Social smoking,” when people smoke in conjunction with drinking and in other social situations, will be inevitably reduced since the opportunity will not present itself anymore. In the long run, this will minimize the number of addicted smokers.

The bill is a big step in government smoking regulation, but it isn’t a new concept. Other businesses and public and private institutions of all sorts prohibit smoking; adding bars and restaurants is simply the next step. Michigan is just following suit in a trend that is sweeping the nation as one of many states that have banned smoking in restaurants and bars.

Of course the worry is that such a change will negatively affect business as, especially in bars, smoking can be a large part of the experience, but any negative impact would be short term. All bars are subject to this law. The only variable between bars is whether they are enjoyable to be at, not whether you can smoke or not smoke.

Unfortunately for smokers, it’s only going to get colder in the Upper Peninsula and stepping outside for a cigarette is less than desirable, but the state made the best decision in mandating smoke-free bars and restaurants.

This bill considers the people who do not wish to be surrounded in smoke, something that is without question unfavorable to their health. Smokers make the conscious, unhealthy decision to smoke, but under no circumstances should other people be exposed to that as well.