Report: New Smoking Law DidnÂ?t Hurt Businesses 12-21-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Report: New Smoking Law DidnÂ?t Hurt Businesses 12-21-2010

The Michigan Department of Treasury recently released results from its report, The Early Impact of Michigan’s Smoking Ban, with preliminary data showing that Michigan’s smoke-free air law has had little to no impact on the state’s food and beverage industry, including restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
The results are based on a year-over-year statistical comparison of statewide sales tax collections from this industry.
The report found that since the smoke-free law was implemented in May, total sales tax collections have increased from 2.73 percent to 2.84 percent among taverns with beer/wine only, night clubs, family restaurants and cafeterias, as well as fast food, pizza and lunch counters.
Some of the highlights of the report include:
● While taverns with liquor are seeing a 1.57 percent decrease in year-over-year sales tax collections since the smoke-free law took effect, taverns with beer and/or wine only have seen a 1.54 percent increase since May 1.
● Night clubs appear to be benefiting the most from the new smoke-free law. In the six months prior to the enactment of the law, night clubs were showing a 16.67 percent decrease in year-over-year sales tax collections. Since May 1, the sales tax collections are 0.19 percent above the previous year.
● The state saw a 6.9 percent decrease in cigarette sales from June through October 2010 over the same time period in 2009.
“The intent of the smoke-free law is to eliminate the exposure to secondhand smoke and provide a healthier environment for Michigan workers, the public and visitors,” said Michigan Department of Community Health Director Janet Olszewski. “The recent Surgeon’s General report provides irrefutable evidence that there is no 'safe' level of secondhand smoke and brief exposure to secondhand smoke can do immediate damage and even prove fatal.”
“The smoke-free law has been a success in making our communities healthier,” said Dr. Gregory Holzman, Chief Medical Executive for the State of Michigan. “Now an employee does not have to choose between their health and a paycheck."
"Since the law has passed more people have attempted to quit smoking by calling the statewide Quitline," continued Holzman. "The Treasury report also indicates people are smoking less. These are both positive health trends. A secondary benefit of this law may be lower health care costs. Time will tell, but currently in Medicaid alone we spend $ 1.1 billion a year on tobacco-related illnesses.”
The Michigan Department of Treasury report also concluded that drawing long-term conclusions about the effect of the smoke-free air law from this data would be premature.
Data from other states that enacted smoke-free laws from at least one year ago show the best measure of the law's impact.
The MDCH released a report in September that showed 70 percent of Michigan residents support the statewide smoke-free air law.
More than eight months after the enactment of Michigan’s smoke-free air law, it remains very popular, and businesses and residents are showing an extremely high rate of compliance.
To compare, Ohio public health departments received 36,558 complaints on noncompliance in the first year after going smoke-free, whereas Michigan health departments received fewer than 800 statewide.
For more information, the report can be found at www.michigan.gov/treasury.
Late Tuesday, TV5 received a response from the Protect Private Property Rights in Michigan movement:
Members of the PPPRM (which includes hundreds of Michigan bar, tavern, pub owners -- Other support industry business owners and their thousands of workers) are extremely concerned by the Department of Treasury's press release "New Smoking Law Not Hurting Businesses".
PPPRM members are extremely concerned by the continued claims made by the MDCH director Janet Olzewski. The fact remains, hundreds of Michigan small businesses have been irreversibly harmed by the Ron Davis law. Ms. Olzewski remains unconcerned and dismissive despite overwhelming evidence contrary to her opinion.
Hundreds of Michigan jobs have been lost due to this this ban on the use of a legally sold product. The damage this ban has done appears to be of no concern to the these public servants. Instead Ms. Olzewski prefers to quote a the farcical Surgeon General's opinion.
The current U.S. Surgeon General is a former appointee of the board of trustees for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A foundation who donates grants to the MDCH, and a non-profit organization who is the largest stock holder in the Johnson&Johnson Corporation as well. Makers of many smoking cessation drugs and aides.
The state (MDCH) continues to hold onto the online "survey" conducted declaring 70% of Michiganders support the ban. Many, not all, state news outlets continue to cite this "poll". But thankfully many no longer do since the PPPRM discovered and released that the MDCH poll was conducted online -- could be retaken as many times as the user would like by simply closing and re-opening a computer window or by clearing one's cache. Several pro-ban blogs, and web pages were instructing their members to do just that. Yet despite this, the poll is still presented by the MDCH as scientific fact.
Our letters, emails and phone calls of concern to Janet Olzewski, James McCurtis and several state representatives' offices regarding the methods used to collect this data and its presentation to the public as fact went unreturned.
The Department of the Treasury released statistics refuting another state department (Michigan lottery) in declaring there are little to no negative economic effects of the ban. The PPPRM finds it disturbing that our state departments cannot even agree on this matter.
The PPPRM will be making an official request to the Department of Treasury as to their methodology and formula for which they came to this conclusion.
We would like to continue our open invitation the Director of the MDCH, Janet Olzewski, to come and explain to bar owners and workers, face to face, how this ban is not hurting their businesses,jobs and incomes. Again, our invitations has gone ignored.
The bar owners and workers of Michigan are not statistics.
This most recent attempt by the state to fit the proverbial circle through the square is yet another insult upon injury to the backbone of our state: Michigan small businesses and their workers.
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