Wisconsin Economic Data

A study published in January 2011 analyzed several economic measures in Wisconsin cities that had enacted smokefree bar ordinances and reported no negative economic impact from the laws. The author stated, "The examination of effects of Wisconsin's municipal smoke-free ordinances indicates no adverse economic effects throughout the hospitality industry and its subsectors including drinking establishments. The number of alcohol licenses in municipalities remained constant before and after the implementation of the ordinances. Also, as indicated by the very low level of fines, there is no indication that alcohol license holders believed it was necessary to violate the law in order to maintain revenue. Finally, there was no significant difference in employment in any relevant sector of the hospitality industry when comparing counties with smoke-free ordinances and those without protections." ( Ahrens, D., "An analysis of the economic effects of Wisconsin's smokefree municipal ordinances on alcohol licensed establishments: 2005-2009," University of Wisconsin, Carbone Cancer Center, Tobacco Surveillance and Evaluation Program, January 2011.)

A study released on February 26, 2008 by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) stated that smokefree laws have no negative economic impact on Wisconsin cities. Bruce Speight of WISPIRG stated that data collected from Madison and Appleton found that the cities' smokefree ordinances had "either a neutral or positive economic impact."

News Release
Executive Summary


Local reports show that Appleton, Wisconsin's strong smokefree law has been a huge success. Not only has the local smokefree ordinance provided for health improvements among bartenders and residents, but Appleton businesses have experienced economic benefits since the law went into effect as well.

Mark Dougherty, Owner, Mark's Eastside, Appleton, WI

On the economic impact of a smokefree ordinance: "My business really didn't decrease. Some nights I've had to add bar staff. My business has been up since last year."

Quoted In:
Jones, B., "Smoking ban benefits Appleton bars, group's ads say," Green Bay Press-Gazette, April 27, 2007.

The Tobacco Free Dane County Coalition also released a status report on the economic and health benefits of Madison's smokefree law.