Most Berrien County businesses in compliance with smoke-free air lawPublished 9:56pm Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Researchers with the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Tobacco Section recently completed analysis of results from an observational compliance check survey related to Michigan’s statewide smoke-free air law. The survey was conducted in May to determine compliance of businesses with the law one year after implementation. The law, which took effect May 1, 2010, requires Michigan workplaces to be smoke-free.
The 11-question survey included observations on whether “no smoking” signs were posted; if ashtrays and/or smoking paraphernalia were visible; whether smoking occurred in the waiting area, outdoor seating area or anywhere in the venue; and whether business managers, when appropriate, asked smokers to refrain from smoking. Information identifying the venue and the date and time of the observation was also collected.
The survey, which was completed by volunteers age 21 or older in 72 of Michigan’s 83 counties and in the City of Detroit, was conducted at 1,138 randomly selected restaurants, bars and bowling alleys. The observations were recorded unobtrusively within the selected venues. Berrien County Health Department was one of the agencies that worked with volunteers to complete the survey.
Statewide, 87 percent of surveyed establishments had visibly posted “no smoking” signs, and nearly 97 percent of these establishments had removed ashtrays and smoking paraphernalia. Smoking was observed in 7 percent of outdoor seating areas and in 3 percent of waiting areas. There was no smoking observed at all in 96 percent of the surveyed establishments.
According to Jean Chabut, deputy director of public health administration, “This survey was conducted twice previously with similar results. Results from this third round of the survey continue to indicate that compliance with the law is high. The law was designed to protect Michigan workers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure, and thanks to Michigan business owners, employees and patrons, the law is working just as intended.”
Kerri Teachout, coordinator of the Berrien County Tobacco Reduction Coalition, noted that the results from Berrien County were similar to statewide findings. Fifty-six percent of establishments had posted “no smoking” signs, and 89 percent of establishments were completely smoke-free.
To view a copy of the survey results or for more information about Michigan’s smoke-free law, visit www.michigan.gov/smokefreelaw or contact Kerri Teachout at (269) 927-5668.