Wisconsin may be the 26th state to ban smoking in all bars and restaurants..

May 7, 2009 - Smoking would be prohibited in restaurants, taverns and virtually all workplaces in Wisconsin starting in July 2010, under a compromise announced Wednesday by state lawmakers. The measure is likely to pass both houses and be signed into law by Governor Jim Doyle.

The announcement came after lawmakers brokered a compromise between advocates for a strict ban and the Tavern League, a powerful lobbying group that has opposed a statewide ban in the past. Bill supporters agreed to delay implementation until July 5, 2010, so that bars would have time to prepare for the change. They also agreed to exempt the handful of existing cigar bars and all tobacco retail shops. In addition, the ban would not apply to Wisconsin casinos because the Native American tribes that run them are sovereign nations.

Virtually all other workplaces, including bowling alleys, factories and restaurants, would be required to go smoke-free. Hotels also would not be allowed to have any rooms with smoking allowed. Restaurant and bar owners still could set up smoking areas outside their businesses.

Julie Willems Van Dijk, Marathon County's health officer: "An individual has a right to smoke but an individual does not have a right to smoke in a place that puts other people's health at risk." Attorney General's 700 page report helped justify that second-hand smoke kills to prove it.

Three of Wisconsin's neighboring states — Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota — already have approved smoking bans.

Reference: Statewide smoking ban terms brokered by lawmakers
Bill would take effect in July 2010, not impact casinos
, by RYAN J. FOLEY, , May 7, 2009; Statewide Smoking Ban Likely, Not Everyone on Board by Liz Hayes, wsaw.com, 5/7/2009.

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