Countdown to smoke-free enjoyment

I love that so many breweries in Michigan are either already smoke-free or offer ample seating well removed from the smokers’ area.

For example, it was fantastic to meet, as a currently pregnant lady, with my brother-in-law and his wife and 14-month-old at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti. The other adults enjoyed craft beer while the baby and I enjoyed the smoke-free air. An even more striking example is Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids. At their old location, even when sitting by an open window, the smoke could be oppressive, and it certainly had a negative impact on my enjoyment of the atmosphere. When they moved to their present building and went smoke-free, it was a revelation! It was glorious!

And now, we won’t have to wait long until everyone can enjoy a pint anywhere, smoke-free.

Although I used to be a pack-a-day smoker, I made the choice to enjoy fresh air, my health, my food and my pocket change almost 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve dreaded stepping into many a smoke-filled bar, talking to friends through carcinogenic clouds and going home with my clothes and hair stinking. The conversation before heading out would often include phrases like, “I really like that bar, but it’s so damn smokey!” The smoke was part of the “ambiance” at dive bars, but it wasn’t something I appreciated.

All that will change May 1, when the smoking ban takes effect in Michigan. The ban, which prohibits smoking in bars, restaurants and workplaces, is similar to those put into place in 36 other states. I remember when New York City (and state) went “smoke free” many years ago. Sure, certain establishments in the Village were slow to comply, but eventually, everyone got on the bandwagon. And you know what? Smokers still found places to smoke, and nonsmokers ventured into previously smoke-filled haunts in perhaps even greater numbers than before.

Now begins the three-month countdown for Michigan! Though I understand the fear of proprietors and the dismay of die-hard smokers, I am excited, and I know that this is the “right thing.” A sunny afternoon in August at a brewery with my husband and new baby? I’m all for that.

Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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