No Smoke for You

Mike Paulus

The statewide smoking ban, um, happened yesterday, with some bitter and some sweetness on either side of the issue. From

  • To some, the ban is a welcome change that will lead to a healthier state. Geralyn Karl, public health educator for St. Croix County, said the ban will go beyond just protecting people from secondhand smoke.
  • "We're also sending a message to young people about the social norms of tobacco," Karl said. "There will be fewer kids that will start, there will be lots of people that will be protected, and there will be people motivated and supported in their quit attempts by this kind of policy."
  • Others, however, aren't looking forward to bars and restaurants going smoke-free and see the smoking ban as both an encroachment on personal freedom and a problem for businesses.
  • "On Independence Day, they're going to tell us that we don't have a choice anymore," said Mary Cassellius, co-owner of the Kassel Tap in St. Croix Falls. "As long as something is legal, it should be a property owner's right to decide."

In Eau Claire and Menomonie – where smoking’s already banned from public places – the only truly interesting thing to watch is the possible migration of bar-going smokers back to their old haunts, as opposed to the bars just outside of town where smoking was still allowed until yesterday.