Governor Jim Doyle this week visited communities across the state to celebrate a state law that goes into effect on July 5, making public places, including restaurants, taverns, and other indoor workplaces, smokefree.
“On July 5th, Wisconsin residents – some who haven’t been able to go out for years – will finally be able to breathe freely at restaurants, taverns and workplaces across the state,” Governor Doyle said. “A Smoke Free Wisconsin will help save lives, it will help save over $400 million a year in health care costs, and it will help prevent our kids from picking up the deadly habit in the first place.”
Governor Doyle has fought the scourge of tobacco his entire career. In 2007, he launched a statewide anti-smoking initiative which included a proposal to make all public workplaces smokefree. In addition, he has taken a number of steps to reduce smoking in Wisconsin, including raising the cigarette tax by $1, providing free quit-smoking medications through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line, and increasing youth tobacco prevention efforts. In 1999, as Attorney General, he negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement for the state with Big Tobacco.
Last May, Governor Doyle signed into law a comprehensive smoking ban that prohibits smoking in workplaces in Wisconsin after July 5, 2010. Wisconsin joins 27 other states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico in making all workplaces including restaurants and bars smokefree. A smokefree Wisconsin will lower health care costs, save lives, and help make residents healthier.
Each year, nearly 8,000 people die from smoking-related illnesses in Wisconsin. Since 2000, Wisconsin has made significant progress on decreasing smoking rates with a 65 percent decrease in the middle school smoking rate, a 38 percent decrease in high school smoking rate, and a 17 percent decrease in the adult smoking rate.
The Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line offers free, confidential, non-judgmental coaching and information about how to quit. Research shows smokers who use the Quit Line are four times more likely to quit than if they try to quit on their own. For information on the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW), visit www.ctri.wisc.edu/quitline.