Wisconsin smoking ban officially takes effect

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All public places in Wisconsin are officially smoke free as the state-wide ban took effect on Monday.

There are mixed feelings about whether the ban should have been approved in the first place. But now that it's said and done, even businesses that opposed the ban say at least now the playing field is level, and it's not just certain towns losing customers.

"It’s a great day for Wisconsin. We've waited a long time and it's finally here," American Cancer Society Spokesperson Allison Miller said.

The American Cancer Society says it's a matter of health.

"The purpose of this is really to make sure everybody enjoys smoke-free workplaces and nobody has to choose between their health and their paycheck," Miller said.

Many thought the ban was bound to happen.

"A lot of other states have done it. It's healthier definitely for the employees to be in a non-smoking environment," General Manger at Northwoods Brew Pub in Eau Claire, Deanna Haldeman said.

But for some business owners, a smoking ban already in effect in the City of Eau Claire, hasn't been all positive.

"For six months, when Eau Claire went smoke-free it was terrible. It was devastating what we lost," 5 O’Clock Club Owner Julie Johnson said.

Even for the those who oppose the ban like The 5 O'clock Club’s Julie Johnson, making it state-wide brings hopes of customers coming back to Eau Claire.

"I'm very optimistic about it. I do think they will come back,” Johnson said.

Customers Johnson is hoping will stay and an outdoor patio she thinks will help.

"The only thing that hurts us in Wisconsin is wintertime, you know, it's very cold for people to be standing outside smoking," Johnson said.

It's a change, the American Cancer Society says is a benefit and something that won't take long to get used to.

"A year from now, you and I won't think anything of it. It'll be something everyone's accustomed to and everyone will be healthier for," Miller said.

Miller says 80% of Wisconsinites don't smoke.

Some business people also say they’re hoping the ban will get people to try new restaurants and bars without smoking being an issue.

Wisconsin is the 28th state with a comprehensive ban.

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