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 LANSING, Mich., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Michigan state Rep. Michael J. Bennane (D-Detroit) today welcomed Gov. John Engler's support of legislation developed by House Democrats and advanced by the House Public Health Committee to impose new regulations on the sale and use of tobacco products in Michigan.
 "The governor is proposing implementation of the initiatives we are moving through the Legislature," said Rep. Bennane, chair of the committee. "I'm glad to see he is joining our efforts to reduce the availability of tobacco for young people, to protect non-smokers from the bad habits of others and to impose new restrictions on the sale and distribution of this dangerous drug.
 "I am confident that since our legislation now has the full public support of the governor, we should have no trouble getting it through the House and Senate and onto his desk for his final approval of our initiatives."
 Rep. Bennane said that the major portions of the committee package endorsed by the governor include bills that would:
 -- require restaurants with 50 or more tables to reserve 50 percent of their seating for non-smoking customers - sponsor: Rep. Gregory E. Pitoniak (D-Taylor), now before the Senate Health Policy Committee
 -- prohibit the breaking up of cigarette packs for individual sale - sponsor: Rep. Bennane, now before the Senate Health Policy Committee
 -- ban vending machine sale of cigarettes in Michigan unless the machines operate on a token system or have direct adult supervision for purchase - sponsor: Rep. Mary Brown (D-Kalamazoo), now before the full House
 -- ban the sale of individual cigarettes by retailers - sponsor: Rep. Bennane, now in the Senate Health Policy Committee.
 Rep. Bennane also stated that he hoped that the governor would also look at supporting the cornerstone of the campaign against cigarette availability to minors which would require that any retailer who sells cigarettes be licensed. Rep. Bennane said, "Research shows that over 90 percent of all smokers began their habit before the age of 19. Over the past 25 years, the average age of initiation has been consistently dropping. It is now down to 14 years of age. In a sting operation in the East Lansing area, it was found that 74 percent of all retail stores sold cigarettes to these minors who sought to purchase. It is extremely important that we initiate this portion of the package in order to curtail the illegal sale of cigarettes to minors. Without the ability to take away a retailer's right to sell cigarettes, we are going to continue to fight a losing battle on this issue."
 -0- 3/10/92
 /CONTACT: Rep. Michael J. Bennane, 517-373-1705/ CO: ST: Michigan IN: SU: LEG

ML -- DE011 -- 6883 03/10/92 12:09 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 10, 1992

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