Education about statewide smoke-free workplaces beginsIn less than a month, local smoking ordinances will no longer exist. Starting July 5, Wisconsin's statewide smoking ban goes into effect and officials have started a public education campaign.
By: Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
In less than a month, local smoking ordinances will no longer exist. Starting July 5, Wisconsin's statewide smoking ban goes into effect and officials have started a public education campaign.
The radio, print and online ads don't mention penalties, but rather keep the message positive. Individuals will be able to call in a smoking complaint; enforcement will be up to local police and state justice department.
State Health Secretary Karen Timberlake says public education about the statewide smoking ban is a chance to continue lowering smoking rates in Wisconsin. She says the state has seen a 65 percent decrease in the rates of middle school students who smoke.
The decrease for high school students was not as impressive and as for adults, one in five still smoke.
Smoking under the new law will be allowed in private homes, tobacco bars and outdoor areas. The Wisconsin Tavern League opposed the ban and ultimately agreed to a compromise the league described in a letter to its members "as the best outcome we could have attained."
The original bill in Gov. Doyle's budget did not pre-empt local smoking laws and contained higher fines for businesses that allowed smoking.