Wisconsin smoking ban marks second year

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin’s workplace smoking ban is 2-years-old.

And restaurant officials say overall sales in the hospitality industry are up slightly.

The ban includes state or local government buildings, taverns, restaurants, stores, hotels, day care centers, state institutions, college residence halls, hospitals and more.

Critics, particularly those in the tavern industry, saw the ban as an unnecessary intrusion on private business that would deter customers who want to smoke.

But the Wisconsin Restaurant Association’s Pete Hanson tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wisconsin taverns and eateries followed national economic trends and largely were unaffected by the ban.

Based on state tax collection data, Hanson says restaurant and tavern sales increased 1 percent in 2010 and 2 percent in 2011 but that trend has been ongoing for years.