DETROIT (WWJ) – Sunday marks the one year anniversary for the smoking ban in Michigan. So has the ban hurt business for restaurants and bars?

WWJ’s Chrystal Knight reports a new study by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) reveals that restaurant and bar employees have decreased levels of secondhand smoke exposure in their system.

Judy Stewart, with the American Cancer Society, said improving worker health is what Michigan’s Smoke Free Air Law was all about.

“In the areas that we’ve looked at so far, are showing great improvement in the air quality and that’s exactly why we passed this law, to improve worker health,” Stewart said.

But has the ban improved business for these restaurants? Andy Deloney of the Michigan Restaurant Association is not so sure.

“For all the proponents of the smoking ban who had promised that the restaurant economy would be better, because all sorts of people would come out of the woodwork and would start going to restaurants again, we’re still waiting,” Deloney said.

The MDCH study was conducted among forty bar employees in the following counties: Benzie, Berrien, Genesee, Ingham, Leelanau, Marquette, Menominee, Muskegon, Emmet, Ottawa, St. Clair and Wayne.

The study, conducted four to six weeks before and six to ten weeks after the smoke-free law, shows how the level of secondhand smoke exposure decreased significantly among bar employees after the law went into effect.

Researchers measured the participants’ levels of cotinine and NNAL – chemicals found in urine that serve as biomarkers for measuring exposure to secondhand smoke levels. Each participant also completed a respiratory and general health questionnaire.
The results demonstrate a significant decrease in cotinine levels among employees working in the same bars from an average of 35.92 nanograms per milliliters before the law to zero nanograms per milliliters after the smoke-free law went into effect.

There also was a significant decrease in NNAL levels among participants working in the same bar from an average of .086 picomoles per milliliter before the law to .034 picomoles per milliliter after the smoke-free law was implemented. 

Furthermore, participants reported significant decreases in allergic symptoms, wheezing, shortness of breath, phlegm production, day time cough and morning cough.

Additionally, prior to passage of the law, air quality was tested in a sample of restaurants throughout Michigan where smoking was allowed.

After the law passed, the air quality was re- checked in those same establishments to determine if levels of matter found in secondhand smoke had decreased.

Preliminary results of the air monitoring studies demonstrate a significant decrease in exposure to secondhand smoke in restaurants of all participating areas to date. 

The MDCH study was released days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s MMWR, “State Smoke-Free Laws for Worksites, Restaurants, and Bars,” which predicts that all 50 states will be covered by smoke free air laws by the year 2020.

To view the nicotine level and air monitoring studies, click here.

Comments (2)
  1. ed says:

    bar oweners should be allowed to decide. you lose 20 to 30% some cases more. most bars alot of money on ventalation and it works. i know of 2 bars that have closed. due to this law and many more are losing money and may close. more unemployment. the state really dont need this. what about keno ? that has to down. i for one quite. i donate money and time to charties.and i iam a bad person i have to stand outside in rain,sleet, snow,cold.

  2. JW says:

    I do not believe for one minute that these so called studies showed any difference in people as far as allergies etc… It’s all BS. All the smoking Ban did is hurt businesses. It’s just another freedom lost. We have to have Government telling us what to do with everything these days. It should have always been up to the business owner. Will this ban help the employee’s? No! Many of them will be laid off because of the business loss so keep on whining! We let too many people get away whining over safety. BS it’s all BS, nobody can prove that anybody was ever harmed in the slightest way over second hand smoke. Is all BS and all it does is hamper our freedoms. Non-smokers should have a choice to go to a non-smoking area and that’s it! I’m a smoker and I still have a choice. My choice is to stay home or go to private parties. I won’t waste any money dining or anything else if I can’t enjoy myself and I know I am not alone.

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