Wisconsin Is the Latest State to Ban Smoking in Bars and Restaurants

June 1, 2009

Wisconsin has now become the 27th state to adopt legislation prohibiting smoking in bars and restaurants. The new legislation becomes effective July 5, 2010.

The statute is expansive, prohibiting smoking in any “public place” or “place of employment.” In addition, it bans all indoor smoking with the exception of private homes, designated rooms in hotels and similar facilities, and some rooms in assisted living facilities.

The legislation also reaches bowling alleys, taverns, halls used for private functions and areas in buildings used to assemble goods, products, or merchandise. Existing cigar bars and specialty tobacco shops will be grandfathered in, but those opening after July 5, 2010 must be smoke-free.

The act defines a “place of employment” as “any indoor place that employees normally frequent during the course of employment,” including an office, work area, employee lounge, restroom, conference room, meeting room, classroom, or hallway. A “public place” is a place “open to the public or a place to which the public has access or may be invited.”

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