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Wisconsin's smoke-free workplace law turns three

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Today, many take it for granted smoking isn’t allowed in Wisconsin bars and restaurants, but it wasn’t that long ago one had to choose between “No Smoking” and “Smoking” sections or avoid places altogether because they were simply too smoky.

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Now, because of the smoke-free air law, Wisconsin’s workers are healthier, and everyone is able to enjoy a night out with family and friends without risking exposure to secondhand smoke, according to information from the Pierce County Public Health Department.

A comment echoed by many Pierce County residents is, “I enjoy that I don’t have to drive to Minnesota to go out to eat with my family at a smoke-free restaurant. I also like supporting the local economy.”

The benefits of the smoke-free law are not just limited to healthier workplaces. An increasing number of families are making their homes smoke-free.

Since the law took effect in 2010, secondhand smoke exposure inside the home has fallen from 13 percent to seven percent, and the number of homes in Wisconsin with smoke-free rules has increased from 74 percent to 80 percent, according to a research study done in 2012. Another benefit from the smoke-free law is fewer kids are smoking. Since 2010, high school smoking has dropped from 17.7 percent to 13.1 percent, according to the Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS).

It is clear the smoke-free law’s public health impact will only continue to grow in the years ahead. Wisconsin is better—and far healthier—smoke-free.

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