Thursday, November 18, 2010
According to data collected by the Department of Health Services (DHS), the number of complaints filed in violation of the smoke-free law peaked at 205 in July, the first month the law took effect, and hit an all-time low of just 78 in October. The law applies to nearly 200,000 businesses statewide.
“These numbers further demonstrate the already evident success of the smoke-free law,” said Maureen Busalacchi, Executive Director of SmokeFree Wisconsin. “Smoke-free laws, whether on the local or state level, are generally self-enforcing. People understand the dangers of secondhand smoke and respect the law.”
“Clearly the smoke-free law is working and workers, patrons and the public are breathing easier,” said Gail Sumi, Wisconsin Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society. “Eliminating secondhand smoke from our workplaces has been and will continue to be key to keeping Wisconsin workers healthy and productive. It’s good to see so many businesses are readily adapting to the healthier environment.”
In total, less than one percent of businesses statewide have had compliance complaints since the law went into effect July 5th. Businesses reported in violation of the law first receive a warning letter from DHS and subsequent complaints can lead to fines both for business owners and for smokers.
Anyone wishing to report a violation can do so anonymously at http://wibettersmokefree.com/ or by phone at 1-800-NO-SMOKE. A breakdown of the month-to-month complaints and number of businesses cited can be accessed at: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/tobacco/.
Wisconsin is one of 23 states that have comprehensive smoke-free laws as a matter of public health.
Check out Wisconsin Restaurant Association's Press Statement on Compliance Data Here.