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Smoking Ban Holiday Protest Planned

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Some bars and restaurants may allow their customers to light up that cigarette on New Year’s Eve. Owners say it’s in protest of the ban — which is burning their business.

Ed Deeb, President of the Michigan Food and Beverage Association, tells WWJ many bar and restaurant owners have lost a lot of money since the smoking ban took effect on May 1st.

The goal is for several hundred bar owners to participate in the protest, to show their dissatisfaction of the smoking ban.

Bar owners participating in the protest, say they’ll begin at 9 p.m., after minors are gone. A state study shows more than 70 percent of Michiganians favor the ban and 80 percent believe second hand smoke is a big health risk.

“But, you know, we have a freedom of choice system in our society where people can choose to go into a particular restaurant or bar or tavern or not go on one,” Deeb said.

“If they know they’re smoking, they don’t have to go in there. But, at least give the businessman the choice to be able to make that option as well,” he said.

The state Department of Public Health says that since the ban took effect there have been 486 reports of violations, with more than 150 citations being written up.

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