In a bipartisan effort in May 2009, the Wisconsin Legislature passed legislation that will make all bars and restaurants in the state smoke free. The law will go into effect in July 2010.
“Now, Wisconsinites will be able to enjoy a night out or a meal with their families without breathing in dangerous secondhand smoke,” said Bruce Speight, WISPIRG advocate.
For the past year and a half, WISPIRG has built public support for this measure and exposed the false claims of Big Tobacco that smoke-free laws are bad for the economy. In 2008, WISPIRG released a new report which found that communities and states that had gone smoke free had not experienced negative economic impacts.
WISPIRG supporters rallied with Lance Armstrong and Gov. Jim Doyle to call for a smoke-free Wisconsin, and thousands of our online activists signed WISPIRG’s “Beer Drinkers for Smoke-Free Bars” petition. Since then, communities from Marshfield to Fond du Lac to Eau Claire have passed their own smoke-free laws, creating momentum for a statewide law.
In February, WISPIRG joined with Smoke Free Wisconsin, the American Cancer Society, state Sen. Fred Risser (Madison) and others to kick off the Holding Our Breath For Smoke-Free Air campaign.
Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in America, killing at least 53,000 nonsmokers a year, including 3,000 lung cancer deaths and 35,000 coronary heart disease deaths.
Smoke-free bars and restaurants ensure that our families are not unnecessarily exposed to secondhand smoke and the increased health risks associated with it.
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