“Ban smoking in bars? What are they thinking?” a farmer told me last week.
Yes, that is exactly what some folks are thinking. There has been a flurry of activity around efforts to impose a state-wide ban on smoking in every public place, including bars.
The city of Madison has a ban on smoking. Locals have moved their socializing out to the communities surrounding Madison. The establishments in Madison saw a dramatic drop in business. Madison legislators are now proposing a ban state-wide.
I’m thinking…Madison passes a ban; their establishments fare poorly; Madison wants the ban to go state-wide so their business doesn’t move away. I live in Buffalo County…Minnesota is three miles away…isn’t this shifting their problem to us? Something’s wrong.
From Arcadia to Wyeville, our local small towns are characterized by mom and pop establishments that line Main Street. A state-wide smoking ban would dramatically affect these private businesses - and change the small town culture that people have come to know and expect.
If taverns want to ban smoking on their own, that's fine, but this should be a choice made by local bar owners and their communities not by Madison legislators.
Tell me what you think! I can be reached at (877) 763-6636 (toll free); or write to State Capitol; P.O. Box 7882 Madison, WI 53707-7882 or email Sen.Vinehout@legis.wisconsin.gov. We can also be reached in our office in Black River Falls at (715) 284-1730.