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Restaurant Smoking Ban?

By: Paige Lambrecht
By: Paige Lambrecht

The group is called Fresh Air, and they're beginning a push to make all workplaces in Wausau smoke free, including restaurants. Members of Fresh Air say the health hazards of smoking can't be ignored.

Pulmonologist Dr. Thomas Wald said he see patients all the time who have lifelong health problems due to smoking, or second-hand smoking. Each year second hand smoke causes 26 children to develop asthma. That's why fresh air will go before the Wausau City Council to request a smoke-free ordinance that would include restaurants.

Bars and taverns would be exempt from the ordinance. However, many restaurants like the Hiawatha Restaurant also serve liquor. Co-owner Bill Jamgochian said he thinks their business would take a hit if they had to ban smoking and he worries that smokers would find another bar that didn't serve food and therefore, didn't have to follow the smoking ban.

But Fresh Air Coordinator Mary Kay Rudolph said businesses that have gone smoke-free in other cities have thrived.

In fact, if the Wausau City Council chooses to adopt a smoke free policy they would be the 18th city in Wisconsin to do so and according to research done by the Marathon County Tobacco Free Coalition, three out of four Wausau residents want smoke-free restaurants.

So the support from the general public is there for a smoking ban.