Governor John Engler's Explanation For
Signing The Roadside Tobacco Billboard Ban

          In late 1998, the Michigan Legislature passed a roadside tobacco billboard ban (House Bill 4343). I contacted Governor John Engler to ask if he signed the bill into law. Below is the favorable answer received.

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From: Michigan Governor <>
To: <>
Subject: House Bill 4343 - Billboard Ban - Reply
Date: Monday, January 11, 1999 1:35 PM

          Thank you for contacting Governor Engler's office regarding Enrolled House Bill 4343. The Governor appreciates your taking the time to share your thoughts with him.

          Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death and disability in America today. In fact, smoking causes over 15,000 deaths in Michigan each year and accounts for more than $800 million in a health care costs for our state. Real and long term improvements in the health status of our citizens demands a state-wide commitment to prevention.

          For this reason, Governor Engler is happy to announce that on December 31, 1998, he signed Enrolled House Bill 4343 into Michigan Law which will take effect January 1, 2000. This bill, now Public Act 464 of 1998, amends Public Act 106 of 1972, the highway advertising act, to ban billboard advertising of tobacco products. Tobacco products are described in the bill to include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, snuff and chewing tobacco. The ban includes billboards along interstate highways, freeways, primary highways, secondary highways, major streets and local roads. The penalty for violating this section is a civil fine of no less then $5,000 or more than $10,000 for each day of the violation.

          I thought it might interest you that Governor Engler's Administration has taken other bold steps to reduce tobacco usage in the State of Michigan. Governor Engler has signed Executive Orders [1992-3 dated 18 March 1992] to ban smoking in state buildings, prohibit tobacco sales on state property, and to end production of cigarettes by state prisons. We have established the right of K-12 students to smoke-free schools and established smoke free Child Care Centers. Tobacco vending machines are now banned in most public places and free samples of cigarettes are now restricted from being mailed in Michigan. Restaurant non-smoking seating has also been increased to 50% for those facilities that serve the public and have greater than 50 seats.

          To protect those most vulnerable from the influence of others, Governor Engler's Administration recently has put more restrictive measures in place to curb the sale of tobacco products to children under 18 by requiring a picture identification to anyone attempting to purchase tobacco products under the age of 27. This program has had dramatic results by directly reducing illegal tobacco sales to minors.

          Though some may not agree with the emphasis the Governor has placed upon curbing smoking, he firmly believes that these are necessary steps if we are to reduce health care costs and improve the health of the citizens of Michigan. You should be aware that the curbing of smoking will continue to play a central role in Governor Engler's overall strategy to promote a healthier Michigan.

          Once again, thank you for contacting Governor Engler's office.


Stacy Watkins
Assistant to the Governor
Constituent Services Division


Related Information
The Department of Justice Position
in Support of Baltimore's Ad Ban
David Vladeck's Testimony Supporting
Authority to Regulate Cigarette Advertising
Robert Kline's Testimony for Constitutionality
of Regulating Cigarette Advertising