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Smoke-Free Workplace Law Makes Sense

Publication Date: 2007-02-21
  • Author:Terry Rindfleisch
  • Publication:La Crosse Tribune

When people talk about a statewide smoke-free workplace law, Doug Mormann understands the politics but wishes legislators and others would be more concerned about public health.

Mormann, director of the La Crosse County Health Department, said a law banning smoking in all public places, including bars and bowling alleys, is necessary to protect the health of the public and workers.

"The evidence is overwhelming, and the surgeon general has called for smoke-free places because there is no safe level of secondhand smoke," he said.

Mormann said he was encouraged when Gov. Jim Doyle proposed a statewide ban of smoking in all workplaces, but he then was disappointed when the governor said he would consider a compromise to exempt bars from his smoke-free workplace proposal.

"It's time for Wisconsin to move forward, and it makes sense to protect all workers in all work environments," Mormann said.

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association was concerned that restaurants would be targeted, so its board of directors voted recently to support a statewide workplace smoking ban that does not exempt bars or bar areas in restaurants.