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Smoke-free Workplace Laws Helps Bars and Restaurants Improve Air Quality

July 1, 2014

When the smoke-free workplace law was put into affect in July of 2010, people weren’t sure how customers and employees of Milwaukee bars and restaurants would react. When customers were no longer able to smoke inside their favorite bars and restaurants, many thought it would become a problem and decrease business.

I recently learned at a Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Poverty Network (WTPPN) meeting that customers and employees of establishments that have gone smoke-free actually enjoy it even more than they did before because the air quality has improved.

The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center performed a study on the indoor air quality of Wisconsin restaurants in 2010, just a few months after the law was enacted. Their findings were pleasantly surprising,. The air quality in bars and restaurants improved by 92 percent as a result of the smoke-free workplace law and 97 percent of the establishments had satisfactory or good air quality.

I also learned that before the law, 21 percent of the tested establishments had air quality that was hazardous. No one should be forced to work in a hazardous environment. We all deserve to breathe clean, quality air wherever we go. This law has helped with that. It is something that has been successful in Wisconsin and the air quality in bars and restaurants will hopefully continue to improve.

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