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News Summary

State bars and restaurants doing well three years after smoking ban

Publication Date: 2013-07-06
  • Publication:Wisconsin State Journal

According to the Wisconsin Restaurant Association and state tax data, bars and restaurants showed a 4 percent increase in revenue from the 2011 to 2012 calendar year.

Dona Winisky, director of public policy and communication for the American Lung Association in Wisconsin, said the increase in revenue is not a surprise.

"We always had evidence from other states that when you enact a smoke-free air law revenues would at least be the same or go up," Winisky said. "Wisconsin is very consistent with other states on that front."

Maureen Busalacchi, executive director of Health First Wisconsin warns it is not true for all businesses.

"I'm sure it's not universal in the hospitality industry," Busalacchi said. "Every business reacts differently to change."

Wisconsin Act 12, commonly referred to as a workplace smoking ban, was signed by Gov. Jim Doyle on May 19, 2009, and went into effect July 5, 2010. It prohibits smoking in bars, private clubs, restaurants and other venues.

Jon Walters, kitchen manager of Wildcat Lanes in Verona, said business has remained steady, but said he has patrons who still wish they could have a cigarette with their drink every now and then.

"People said they would stop coming in but that didn’t happen," Walters said. "Business remains steady."...