Wisconsin goes smoke free July 5
HUDSON, Wis. - Wisconsin will join 22 other states in the fight against secondhand smoke when the Smoke-Free Air Law goes into effect on July 5. "The Smoke-Free Air Law is meant to protect all employees and patrons in public establishments from s...
HUDSON, Wis. - Wisconsin will join 22 other states in the fight against secondhand smoke when the Smoke-Free Air Law goes into effect on July 5.
"The Smoke-Free Air Law is meant to protect all employees and patrons in public establishments from secondhand smoke," Geralyn Karl, a health educator and tobacco control specialist for St. Croix County, said. "It is meant to make sure that people don't have to choose between their job and their health."
Since the 1960s, people have known that secondhand smoke is harmful and can lead to many different health problems. The tobacco industry has been the biggest reason that states have taken so long to create smoke-free laws, Karl said.
"The law is not meant to force people to stop smoking," Karl said. "The public has been asking for this as well."
When July 5 comes around, bars, restaurants and any other public spaces will become smoke-free areas, along with hotels and motels, daycare premises and sports arenas of any kind. Smoking will still be allowed on patio areas of businesses, such as restaurants and bars and in private residences.
"This will affect everyone positively," Karl said. "The prevalent rate of adult smokers in the state is 19 percent so we want businesses to know that the 80 percent of people that do not smoke now will be able to come out to those places where you can no longer smoke."
However, places such as Pudge's Bar, 302 Second Street, where smoking is presently allowed, may not be benefit as much as other places from the Smoke-Free Air Law.
"Pudge's is more of a bar than a restaurant, so I will probably have a decline in the number of customers," Mike Murphy, owner of Pudge's Bar, said. "Where as, a more restaurant-style place may see an increase in customers. Right now I am trying not to get too bent out of shape about it."
The city has approved the plan for Pudge's to build a deck area and approved a liquor license for the deck as well. Smoking will be allowed on the deck area.
Karl said that these laws, which prohibit smoking in public areas, will help support smokers who want to quit and will help minimize the number of young people starting to smoke.
"The law will help reinforce what the young people are being taught about smoking," Karl said. "It will hopefully bring about a social change which is huge."
Many businesses will be receiving a business kit with information concerning the law. At http://www.WIBetterSmokeFree.com employers and other individuals can find more information about the Smoke-Free Air Law.
An anonymous toll free complaint line, 1-800-NO-SMOKE, will be available once the law goes into effect on July 5, Karl said.
Individuals who wish to quit smoking can call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line, (800) 784-8669, a free resource with coaches who can help them with the process.
For more information, call Geralyn Karl at (715) 246-8393 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org .