Thursday, November 18, 2010

Great American Smokeout

Today is the Great American Smokeout. Back in May, our state took a huge step in the direction of public health when our workplaces became smoke free.

Last week, the House Regulatory Reform Committee chose not to hear Representative Geiss' bill to weaken the smokefree air law. This is directly in response to all the messages our advocates sent in a mere 24 hours demanding the law remain unchanged. Thank you to everyone that made calls and helped in this effort.

Now that we know some lawmakers are willing to weaken the smokefree air law, please help us by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in support of the smokefree law.

Over the last six months, Michigan workers and patrons have enjoyed going to work without worrying about breathing secondhand smoke. Unfortunately, over that time a small number of people have been fighting to have our elected officials change this great public health law. The media and some legislators are listening to these people and our voice is not being heard.

We've fought too hard for too long for smokefree air. Don't let a few people in our state sabotage our progress. We cannot become complacent nd think our work is done.

Today, in honor of the Great American Smokeout, we are asking you to submit a Letter to the Editor to your local newspaper.

Legislators and our newly elected officials keep close tabs on what is being discussed in their district, so if you have a personal story or just feel trongly about Michigan's smokefree air law, a Letter to the Editor is a great way to express yourself!

Please email if you are interested in submitting a letter and we'll help you get started.
We waited a long time for this healthy change. Now, it's hard to believe we ever allowed smoking in our work places.

It's been a great first six months of the smokefree law.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Michigan ranks 42nd in latest study

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids issued a press release indicating that Michigan ranks 42nd in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.

This news is sad but unsurprising given the fact that the state spends a measly 2.1% of the CDC recommended funding level. Although the state took a step in the right direction when it passed the smoke free law last December, it has failed to adequately provide fund tobacco dependence treatment programs that would help smokers quit. It has also continued its pattern of drastically underfunding prevention measures, thereby contributing to the increase in tobacco use among high schoolers.

This trend of increased use and decreased funding can be reversed. Shifting the Other Tobacco Products (OTP) tax rate to a price-based model on par with the cigarette tax would generate over $40 million for the state and would yield a 24% decrease in youth OTP usage.

For more information on Michigan's OTP rates, please join us at a webinar tomorrow, Thursday, November 18th titled "Tobacco Tax Increases as a Strategy to Prevent and Eliminate Tobacco Use." The webinar begins at 11:00 a.m. and ends at 12:00 noon EST. Contact for more information.

For more information on TFK's settlement reports, including the full report and state-specific information, can be obtained at

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free law is UNDER ATTACK! Just six months into a successful implementation period, Representative Doug Geiss (D-Taylor) wants to reopen the issue and WEAKEN the law, potentially exposing thousands of Michigan’s citizens to the dangers of second hand smoke…AGAIN. WE CANNOT STAND FOR THIS!

Representative Geiss’s bill (HB 5803) proposes that we go back to the farce that was the non-smoking section by introducing "Legal Smoking
Rooms." Geiss claims that ventilation systems will take care of the noxious chemicals that leach through everything in their path. Study after study has shown that ventilation systems do not work and are incapable of removing the harm secondhand smoke poses.

The bill also exempts "licensed clubs" from the smoke free law. This exemption could potentially give any bar or restaurant the ability to file an affidavit with the state calling itself a membership club and thereby allowing smoking. No need to read between the lines here, folks, Representative Geiss wants Michigan’s servers to wade through the thick clouds of smoke once again.
The Regulatory Reform Committee will be taking up this bill today, November 10 at NOON in the House Office Building Room 326. If you’re in the Lansing area, please come and show your support for the Smoke Free Law. If you cannot make it to the hearing, CALL, FAX, AND EMAIL the members of the committee and tell them how much you LOVE smoke free Michigan and that you OPPOSE any changes to weaken the law:

Representative Bert Johnson *Chair
Phone: (517) 373-0144
Fax: (517) 373-8929

Harold Haugh *Vice-Chair
Phone: (517) 373-0854
Fax: (517) 373-5911

Representative Pam Byrnes
Phone: (517) 373-0828
Fax: (517) 373-5783

Representative Tim Melton
Phone: (517) 373-0475
Fax: (517) 373-5061

Representative Bettie Cook Scott
Phone: (517) 373-1776
Fax: (517) 373-8502

Representative Woodrow Stanley
Phone: (517) 373-8808
Fax: (517) 373-5997

Representative Jon M. Switalski
Phone: (517) 373-1772
Fax: (517) 373-5906

Representative Tory Rocca
Phone: (517) 373-7768

Representative Hugh Crawford
Phone: (517) 373-0827

Representative Rick Jones
Phone: (517) 373-0853

Representative Jim Stamas
Phone: (517) 373-1791

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Today, December 10, 2009, the Senate passed and the House concurred with HB 4377 which bans smoking in most public places statewide. It is currently on its way to Governor Granholm’s desk to be signed into law.

Here are some of the high (and low) lights of this historic legislation:
· The bill’s official title is “The Dr. Ron Davis Act of 2009”
· Under this legislation, ALL BARS AND RESTAURANTS will be non-smoking.
· The effective date is May 1, 2010
· The labor union exemption that was included in the original version of this bill has been stripped out!
· Tobacco specialty stores may be exempted provided they meet the following requirements:
o Their primary purpose must be the retail sale of tobacco products and smoking paraphernalia.
o Owners must prove that the store generated 75% or more of its total gross annual income from the on-site sale of tobacco products and smoking paraphernalia (meaning online sales DO NOT COUNT).
o This does NOT include any establishment with any type of liquor, food, or restaurant license. Translation: 95% of the hookah bars will have a choice – “Get rid of your food license or get rid of the hookah.”
· Cigar bars may be exempted provided they meet the following requirements:
o They must be in existence on May 1, 2010.
o Cigar bars MUST have an installed on-site humidor.
o Owners must file an affidavit proving that the cigar bar generated 10% or more of its total gross annual income from the on-site sale of cigars and the rental of on-site humidors.
o The smoking area must be physically separated and enclosed on all sides from any non-smoking areas.
o The cigar bar prohibits the smoking of all other tobacco products (no hookah, no pipes, no cigarettes, etc).
o The cigar bar allows only the smoking of cigars on the premises that retail for over $1.00 per cigar (none of those cigarettes masquerading as “little cigars”).
o You must purchase the cigar on the premises if you’d like to smoke in the cigar bar.
· Casinos are partially exempted
o Only the gaming floors of casinos are exempted.
o All bars and restaurants that are in or are part of a casino may not allow smoking.
· This bill passed 24-13 in the Senate and 75-30 in the House.

Although we would have preferred a comprehensive bill without exemptions, this is still a very well written bill and will protect a majority of Michigan’s workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

More importantly, this legislation passed because of YOUR EFFORTS. It was your tireless phone calls, visits to legislators, emails, and letters that kept the pressure up and ultimately got this passed. Enjoy this moment! We still have some work ahead of us, but are more than halfway there. We will be in touch in the near future with next steps.

Thank you, all of you, again. Now, go celebrate!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Act Now or Forever Hold Your Breath: Great American Smoke Out!

Tomorrow, November 19th is the American Cancer Society's 34th Great American Smokeout. You can celebrate by calling on lawmakers to get the smoke out of Michigan with the passage of a comprehensive smokefree law.

It's time to Act Now or Forever Hold Your Breath!

Email your Senator and Representative to tell them you want a comprehensive smokefree bill passed NOW.

Or give them a call directly. Call 888-NOW-I-CAN to be transferred directly to your lawmaker's office.

The Great American Smokeout began more than 30 years ago as a platform to encourage smokers to quit. Since then, the platform has expanded to not only encourage smokers to make a plan to quit, but also to encourage all Americans to advocate for comprehensive smokefree laws that help protect workers and patrons from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Today, more than 70 percent of the United States population is covered by 100 percent smokefree workplace laws, despite aggressive efforts by tobacco companies to defeat such laws. Please take action today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Week 4: The Writing is on the Wall


The "Writing is on the Wall" for our state legislators. It's time for Michigan to be smokefree!

This week, we're using Facebook to get our message across. Did you know many Michigan legislators have their own Facebook pages?

We need you to take action by posting a positive message on your lawmaker's wall or sending it directly to them via private message. When communicating with your lawmaker please be respectful but most importantly, let them know you want a comprehensive smokefree bill passed today!

Not a Facebook user? You can still take action by calling your legislators!

Tobacco Free Michigan has its own Facebook page. Become a "fan" here:

Here is what you can do in addition to posting on your legislator's page:

  • Make sure all of your Facebook friends know about our page and encourage them to become a fan.

  • Find your legislator and get "connected" with him or her today. If you don't know who your legislator is, go here: or here:

  • Share our Facebook messages and alerts with your friends and post them in your news feed

  • Visit the Campaign for Smokefree Air page, save the logo, and make it your profile picture for the week

As always, we want to hear from you. Once you've taken action, leave a comment on the Act Now! blog at

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


It’s pretty scary…

In the year since our lawmakers failed to pass a comprehensive smokefree bill, another 16,000 of our Michigan kids became regular, daily smokers. Don’t let our lawmakers fall for tobacco industry “tricks.” The Legislature can give our kids a real “treat” this year by passing a comprehensive smokefree bill.


This week, we want you to CALL your Senators and Representatives and tell them you want a comprehensive smokefree law NOW!

Teens who work in smokefree worksites are 25% less likely to smoke than those who work in places without smoking restrictions.

We want to hear from you. Once you've taken action visit our "Act Now or Forever Hold Your Breath" Campaign blog and leave a comment telling us what you've done!

Let’s have our kids collecting candy instead of cancer this year…