UNDATED -- Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary since the statewide smoking ban went into effect in Wisconsin. Now it's lighting up quite the discussion among some local business owners.
Clearing the air at some local bars and restaurants has been no easy task over the last year. But some local tavern owners say the ban is helping them and their customers breathe a little easier these days.
A recent poll shows most Wisconsin residents favor it as well. Three-fourths of the state voters surveyed say they support the law. 85% of those surveyed also say having smoke-free bars and restaurants is important.
However, the President of the La Crosse County Tavern League says keeping people from smoking inside was hard. He says for a while, it hurt his bar's bottom line.
"I dropped, probably, 20 some percent the first couple months. It was very difficult, but a lot of those people have come back," said Mike Brown.
Others say their business has remained steady since the ban got underway and research is backing that up. 91% of those polled in the new survey say they go out the same or more now with smoke-free bars and restaurants.
One local bar owner says she's confident the ban is boosting her customer's health. "The smokers were not happy about having to go outside. They grumbled a lot, but I think in the positive sense, they are smoking a lot less," said Linda DeGarmo, Owner of Tippy Toe Inn.
Bunnie Johnson, a waitress at Tippy Toe Inn says, "The negative right off the bat for me is it's another law. And obviously, we're just kind of legislated to death. But the positive is, I like not working around smoke. It's very refreshing to me."
Governor Scott Walker said in a written statement Thursday that he didn't support the original smoking ban. But after hearing from people across the state, it's clear to him it works. Governor Walker also says he doesn't support repealing the law.