Businesses react to smoking banEditor’s note: This story was written by advanced reporting students at UW-Superior. Wisconsin state Legislators passed a statewide smoking ban that will enforced, staring in July 2010.
By: By Katie Lange, Jess Orr, Brittany Berrens, Superior Telegram
Editor’s note: This story was
written by advanced reporting students at UW-Superior.
Wisconsin state Legislators passed a statewide smoking ban that will enforced, staring in July 2010.
The new law will prohibit smoking in all public places, including taverns, restaurants and bowling alleys. The result would be a complete indoor smoking ban, with the exemption of private residences and select rooms at lodging and assisted living facilities.
The law is similar to bans in three neighboring states — Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa.
“Don’t tell people how, when, what to do, and then tax them for doing it all at the same time,” said Chris Wisocki, the owner of the Pickwick restaurant in Duluth. Wisocki, who protested the Minnesota smoking ban, reported a 12 percent loss in sales at the Pickwick since the ban went into effect in 2007.
It is hard to prove how the current economic downturn affected decreased revenue at the Pickwick, but as Wisconsin focuses on going smoke-free, restaurants and bars in Superior are questioning how the new law will change their business.
“I know it’s going to drive our business down,” said Sandy Stefan, owner and bartender of T.J.’s Champions Lounge.
“We should be able to do as we wish. If we decide to go smoke-free, that’s our choice. If we want to have smoking, that’s our choice too,” said Dan Corbin, the president of the Tavern League of Douglas County.
But state leaders say the ban is necessary to safe guard the health of customer and employees.
“This isn’t like government is intruding in their privacy, because government makes decisions for a good public safety or health reason in a variety of ways,” said Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar. “This is a public health issue, plain and simple.”
Smoke-free in Superior
A number of bars and restaurants in Superior have already made the decision to ban smoking from their establishments.
In March, the Thirsty Pagan Brewery and the bar