There was a day when smokers throughout Michigan sat at their office desks and puffed. Eventually it was outlawed, and people got used to it.
They smoked in public buildings, theaters and ballparks, until those places were ruled off-limits too. And people got used to it.
Now, as Michigan’s latest smoking ban – which will extend to virtually anyplace people hangout indoors – creeps within days of becoming rule, bar owners in downtown Detroit are hoping that all of the pre-deadline hubbub is just that. Soon-forgotten hubbub. Something we’ll get used to.
Talk around places like the Detroit Beer Company inevitably finds its way to the smoking ban, as customers continue to better understand its finer points. Like many bars downtown, the DBC features a casual patio on Broadway that’s become a popular lunch spot during the spring and summer months.
But despite being outdoors, the patio at the Beer Company will be as smoke-free as the rest of the building come 6 a.m. May 1, when the statewide smoking ban officially kicks in. As staffers at the Beer Company explain, all areas of any establishment will be smoke-free, even those outdoors. In order to light up, smokers will have to leave the building and wander at least 25 feet from its entrance. In the case of the Beer Company, (which is sandwiched in between two other businesses) that’ll mean smokers must step across to the median of Broadway, or to the small parking lot two doors down.
So what happens if smokers don’t comply? Who are the “cigarette police” and how will the ban be enforced?
According the folks at the DBC, they themselves are most responsible for policing their bar, and if a smoker refuses to cooperate, they’ll be forced to call police. Were police to find someone smoking, the bar would be fined. Repeat offenders could ultimately face losing their liquor license.