Should state alter smoking ban?
A new study says that after Wisconsin’s smoking ban took effect in bars, restaurants and other workplaces, the percentage of Wisconsinites exposed to second-hand smoke was sliced nearly in half.
That means fewer residents will suffer from asthma, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses caused from inhaling cigarette smoke. Bar patrons and employees are breathing easier.
While the Wisconsin Tavern League fought the 2-year-old ban, it hasn’t been the death knell that many bar owners feared. Sales at restaurants and taverns actually rose 1 percent in 2010 and 2 percent in 2011, according to the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. Sure, the subcategory of bars and taverns saw a decrease of about 4 percent, and some bars went out of business. But wouldn’t you think those closures could be blamed more on the economic downturn than the smoking ban?
Tavern owners apparently aren't done fighting. In Sunday’s Gazette, Dodge County Tavern League President Kathy Martin said owners hope to convince lawmakers to change the law and allow a bar to create an indoor smoking area closed off from the rest of the business.
Does that make sense, or would it essentially return us to the days when bar patrons and employees breathed too much dirty air?
We’ll share our perspectives in our editorial Wednesday.