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Smoking Ban: One Month Later

Publication Date: 8/5/2010
  • Author:Marti Mikkelson
  • Publication:WUWM-Milwaukee, WI

It's been a month since Wisconsin banned smoking in indoor workplaces, including bars and restaurants. In Milwaukee, the health department has received more than a dozen complaints of people disregarding the law, and lighting up in their favorite watering hole anyway. WUWM's Marti Mikkelson checked back in with a place she visited just before the ban took affect.

As I approach the Hi Fi Café in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood, I notice the place looks a little different on the outside. For one, dozens of cigarette butts are strewn across the sidewalk and into the street. The seating area outside the door also is crowded. One in the group is smoking.

"We are just grateful to have the bench for now…"...

Nagel used to be a regular here, but since the smoking ban went into effect, he says now he only stops by occasionally. It’s been a positive change for some customers. One person who says she "loves" the smoking ban is Angela Wierzbinski, a non-smoker. She’s seated inside at a table next to the window, surfing the web on her laptop. She says the café looks cleaner now.

"You can even tell the difference on the windows and everything. I drove by the day the smoking ban went into effect and all the girls working here were cleaning the windows because it’s like you finally realize how dingy it became after like years of smoking," Wierzbinski says.

Wierzbinski says she visits a couple times a week compared to the occasional stop she would make when smoking was allowed. Owner Mary Hart says she regrets the loss of business from her smoking customers, but she's grateful that a new clientele has been walking through the door.

"We're seeing a lot of new faces and a lot more families already, a lot of people with kids but really positive not loud, well behaved, pleasant kids, which is good. We were missing that element," Hart says.