Two year anniversary of Wisconsin's public indoor smoking ban todayWisconsin News
-- Wisconsin’s public indoor smoking ban started two years ago yesterday.
Wisconsin’s public indoor smoking ban started two years ago yesterday.
And while the state’s Tavern League blames it for a loss of drinking establishments, restaurants don’t appear to be hurt. Pete Hanson of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association said tax collections showed about a two-percent increase statewide in restaurant-and-tavern sales last year. And that’s about the same as it was nationally. Taverns themselves had a sales decrease of around four-percent. But Hanson says it cannot be blamed on the smoking ban, because the declines have marked a longer-term trend. But Pete Madland of the Tavern League disagrees. He said his group has lost about 250 members in the past two years, mainly due to bars closing. And while the recession has been a factor, he said the indoor smoking ban was also a contributing factor in many bars shutting down. Kathy Martin, who heads the Dodge County Tavern League, says her group hopes to pursue a bill next spring allowing taverns to have separate indoor smoking rooms. But Maureen Busalacchi of Smoke-Free Wisconsin says her group will fight any bills like that. She says her group is also pushing to ban public indoor smoking on tribal lands – including casinos.