Wisconsin - will July 5th smoking ban lead to more cigarette litter..

June 28, 2010 - On Monday, July 5, 2010 the new statewide ban on smoking in most indoor workplaces. Back on May 18, 2009 Governor Jim Doyle signed a smoking ban making bars, restaurants and other workplaces smoke-free starting on July 5th. Governor Doyle: "It's time for every person in Wisconsin to breathe freely at restaurants, taverns, and workplaces across the state. A smoke-free Wisconsin will save money in health care costs, improve public health and save lives." (Wisconsin Governor Doyle signs smoking ban..)

With the ban approaching concerns have surfaced in at least one city, Green Bay about a possible side effect of pushing smokers outside: Where will all those cigarette butts end up?

Some business groups are taking steps to make sure bar owners and other businesses provide ashtrays or other disposal options outside their establishments. Christopher Naumann, executive director of On Broadway Inc., said his group might purchase extra canisters and set them out along Broadway to control littering in the popular downtown restaurant and tavern district.

Naumann said a similar ban that took effect in Minneapolis in 2007 turned some areas of that city into public dumping grounds. Green Bay prohibits discarding cigarette butts in public under a littering ordinance that carries a potential fine of $177 for each offense.

Police Capt. Todd Thomas said no special enforcement action is planned when the smoking ban takes effect. But police officers invoke the ordinance whenever they notice someone carelessly flicking a butt down on the sidewalk or street. Thomas said it was unclear whether bar owners or other business owners could be cited for allowing discarded butts to accumulate outside their establishments.

According to SmokeFree Wisconsin, the state's new law prohibits smoking in "any indoor place that employees enter carrying out their work duties such as office, work area, employee lounge, restroom, conference room, meeting room, classroom, elevator, stairway, lobby, common area, vehicle, cafeteria, meeting room or hallway."

Reference: Officials debate potential cigarette butt issue when smoking ban takes effect July 5 Some businesses adding outdoor disposal options as combative measure by Scott Williams (swilliams@greenbaypressgazette.com), GreenBayPressGazette.com, 6/27/2010.

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