"The anti-smoking movement has become more sophisticated in its efforts to enact bans and restrictions on smoking.... They have adopted a 'Pac-man' strategy where they attempt to gobble up one community at a time.... The 'Pac-man' strategy makes sense for the antis because it is easier for a group of extremists to have an impact on the local level than in larger jurisdictions.... The solution to 'Pac-man' is statewide pre-emption."Tina Walls
Smokefree air coming to Wisconsin!
Starting on July 5, 2010, all of Wisconsin's indoor workplaces, including all restaurants and bars, will be 100% smokefree. The new law was signed by Governor Doyle signed the smokefree workplace bill into law on Monday, May 18th, 2009. The law will also includes 100% of hotels and motels, becoming the first state to make 100% of hotel rooms smokefree. Read about the new smokefree law.
The law exempts tobacco retail shops and cigar bars under certain conditions, and unfortunately also preempts local cities and towns for prohibiting smoking on outdoor areas of private property (so locals cities and towns may no longer pass smokefree restaurant or bar patio laws, for example).
To learn more about smokefree air in Wisconsin, visit Smokefree Wisconsin.
A University of Wisconsin - Madison study, released in July 2005, found that the indoor pollutant levels from secondhand smoke in Madison's restaurants, bars, and taverns well exceeded nationally recognized "safe" levels before its 100% smokefree law went into effect on July 1, 2005. A follow-up study in 2006 examined the indoor air quality of the same establishments after going 100% smokefree indoors found that density of tobacco smoke declined by 91% after the ordinance went into effect. Read the full 2005 report (PDF) and the full 2006 follow-up report to learn about the studies' findings.
Wisconsin law does not preempt the passage of local smokefree indoor air laws, but the new law that will go into effect 7/5/2010 does preempt local communities from adopting smokefree laws on outdoor areas of private property. Read more about current tobacco-related legislation in Wisconsin.
Current tobacco-related statistics are available from the Centers for Disease Control's Tobacco Control State Highlights, 2010.
Wisconsin's 2018 Legislative Session: January 9 - TBD
- 1/5/2018AB159—(schools)—An Act relating to policies regulating the use of electronic smoking devices on school district property—Failed to pass
- 4/13/2018Preemption Watch Bill Tracking Summary
- 2/4/2011What's happening in the U.S. Territories and Commonwealths?
- 10/13/2017State lawmakers choose winners and losers through preemption
- 7/10/2017Wisconsin celebrates 7 years smoke-free
- 7/6/2017Blue Cities Want to Make Their Own Rules. Red States Won't Let Them.
- 5/10/2017The Threat of Super-Preemption
- 3/6/2017Preemption Prevents Innovation
- 2/21/2017City Rights in an Era of Preemption: A State-by-State Analysis
- 2/2/2017Red State, Blue City
- 1/5/2017GOP aims to rein in liberal cities
- 9/9/2016How ALEC, ACCE, and Preemption Laws are Gutting the Powers of American Cities
- 8/22/2016Blue Cities, Red States
- 6/29/2016Smoke Free Air Law celebrates milestone
- 6/28/2016Colorado Preemptions of Local Government: The Need for the Colorado Community Rights Amendment
- 6/23/2016State and Local Comprehensive Smoke-Free Laws for Worksites, Restaurants, and Bars--United States, 2015
- 4/6/2016From Fracking Bans To Paid Sick Leave: How States Are Overruling Local Laws
- 4/1/2016Growing Southern cities are increasingly targets of state pre-emption
- 3/25/2016Beyond North Carolina's LGBT Battle: States' War on Cities
- 2/4/2016Corporate Interests Take Aim at Local Democracy
- 8/6/2015Blowing the Whistle on ALEC's Little Brother ACCE
- 8/2/2015Smoke-free law reminder that bipartisanship is possible
- 7/7/2015Four Ways ALEC Tried to Ruin Your State this Year
- 5/17/2015Say no: States increasingly blocking cities and counties from imposing mandates on businesses
- 5/8/2015State lawmakers hate federal meddling even as they preempt local government
- 4/21/2015Allow local governments to regulate e-cigarettes
- 3/30/2015E-Cigarettes Lights Up Capitol Fight
- 3/30/2015The ALEC-Backed War on Local Democracy
- 2/23/2015Govern Yourselves, State Lawmakers Tell Cities, but Not Too Much
- 3/5/2014WI Legislature Takes Up Question of Banning E-Cigarettes
- 12/17/2013Bill Would Exempt E-Cigarettes From Smoking Ban
- 11/5/2013GOP irks municipal officials by curbing local control
- 7/6/2013State bars and restaurants doing well three years after smoking ban
- 8/27/2012Secondhand smoke exposure down since smoking ban, UW study says
- 7/11/2012Our view: Smoking ban has made Wisconsin healthier
- 7/5/2011Editorial: Benefits of statewide ban are obvious
- 1/27/2011Smoking ban likely to stay in place
- 12/14/2010Study: Statewide smoking ban has dramatically improved indoor air
- 11/23/2010Other view: Let’s not re-ignite smoking ban debate
- 8/24/2010Smoking ban worries all puffed up?
- 8/5/2010Smoking Ban: One Month Later
- 7/5/2010Day One Of Smoking Ban Goes Just Fine
- 6/28/2010Taverns go smoke-free July 5
- 6/14/2010More reasons to welcome the smoking ban
- 5/15/2010Don’t get sneaky with smoke ban
- 5/12/2010Governor Says Smoking Ban Won't be Easy to Circumvent
- 5/7/2010Countdown to smoke-free workplaces begins
- 4/25/2010Assembly votes on bill to counter loophole in statewide smoking ban
- 3/23/2010About 100 days left to prepare for smoke-free law
- 2/28/2010Local governments gear up for smoking ban
- 2/5/2010State Preemption of Local Smoke-Free Laws in Government Work Sites, Private Work Sites, and Restaurants United States, 2005-2009
- 9/28/2009State did the right thing with smoking ban
- 8/5/2009Bill Would Exempt Some Hotel Rooms From Smoking Ban
- 5/18/2009Doyle signs smoking ban measure
- 5/14/2009Assembly, Senate pass indoor smoking ban
- 5/7/2009State lawmakers reach smoking-ban deal
- 5/5/2009Smoking ban on fast track, after morning hearing
- 4/27/2009Bipartisan statewide smoking ban introduced in Legislature
- 4/8/2009Wisconsin smoking ban still in proposed budget
- 3/10/2009Study: Taverns not only workplace that allows smoking
- 2/27/2009 Group Pushes Wisconsin Smoking Ban
- 2/22/2009Governor Doyle: Statewide smoking ban 'very doable'
- 1/13/2009Pressure builds to pass statewide smoking ban, but powerful foe remains
- 1/5/2009Smoking Ban Expected to Be Hot Topic in Wisconsin Legislative Session
- 12/5/2008Wisconsin needs statewide smoking ban
- 11/24/2008Smoking ban considered
- 10/14/2008Commentary: Wisconsin should learn from its neighbors
- 8/15/2008Your Turn: Smoke Free Wisconsin
- 4/14/2008Smoking ban fight could go local
- 3/13/2008Smoking ban fans promise to fight on
- 3/12/2008Smoking ban appears to be going up in smoke in Wis. Legislature
- 3/6/2008League of Wisconsin Municipalities: Municipalities support smoking ban compromise
- 3/5/2008Assembly Committee Approves Smoking Ban Bill; Armstrong Speaks At Rally
- 3/4/2008Smoking ban debate heats up.
- 3/2/2008Rivals to rally over smoking ban
- 2/27/2008With Armstrong coming, smoking ban push heats up
- 1/27/2008Statewide Smoking Ban Gathers Support In Town Meetings
- 1/25/2008Editorial: Stifling voters' voices isn't Madison's job
- 1/25/2008Smoking ban voters want to clear the air
- 1/8/2008Statewide smoking ban gets first favorable vote in Legislature
- 1/7/2008LTE: Let senators know you support clean air bill
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State Specific Resources
- 6/29/2005Protect Local Control Resolution: Eau Claire, WI
- 6/24/2005Wisconsin Letter Opposing Preemption
- 4/5/2005Joint Statement Opposing Preemption in Wisconsin