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Editorial: Benefits of statewide ban are obvious

Publication Date: 2011-07-05
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Appleton (WI) Post-Crescent

Take a deep breath, Wisconsin. Notice anything? You're breathing air that has been free of smoke for one year.

The statewide workplace smoking ban was signed May 18, 2009, by then-Gov. Jim Doyle on and went into effect July 5, 2010.

Smokers and nonsmokers are healthier because of it. No one has to sit in a smoke-filled room just to enjoy a meal or a drink. No one walks out of a tavern and has to wash their clothes because they reek of smoke. Servers don't have to breathe in secondhand smoke for hours just to make a living.

It's a better place for everyone. And it looks like things will stay this way.

During the campaigns last year, then-candidate Scott Walker said he would sign a bill to repeal the indoor smoking ban if he was elected governor. Now that he's in office, he thankfully has changed his tune.

Walker announced last week that voters have convinced him that the ban works.

The argument in favor of repealing the smoking ban is that businesses should be free to decide whether to allow a legal activity inside their facility.

Before the ban, some municipalities, such as Appleton and Madison, banned indoor smoking while their neighbors still allowed it. That put some businesses at an unfair disadvantage.

Now, the playing field is level. We're one of 30 states with a ban.

The health benefits are measurable. A University of Wisconsin cancer center study showed air quality in bars and restaurants improved 92 percent after the ban. A researcher says that means "many employees and patrons will avoid serious illness and potentially death as a result of the clearing of the air."

Let's keep on enjoying that clean air.