Tobacco Free Columbia Dane County

2010 Wisconsin Smoke-Free Air Law

Where Smoking is Prohibited

The smoke-free air law covers all indoor areas where employees or the public gather. This includes restaurants, taverns, bowling centers, private clubs, retail establishments, and all other enclosed places of employment or public places. Smoking will also be prohibited at sports arenas of all kinds, such as Lambeau Field, public swimming pools, and any other structure used for sporting events. Sports arenas must be smoke-free regardless of whether or not they fit the definition of an enclosed space.

  • Taverns
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels, Motels, Bed & Breakfasts
  • Sports arenas
  • Private clubs
  • Educational facilities
  • Correctional facilities
  • Government buildings
  • Health & medical facilities
  • Inpatient healthcare facilities
  • Common areas of multi-unit apartment buildings
  • Residence halls of college & university campuses
  • Child care centers
  • Theatres
  • State institutions
  • Public transportation
  • All other enclosed workplaces and enclosed
    places where the public are invited

Where Smoking is Allowed

Smoking is allowed outdoors on decks or patios, as long as they are not enclosed. For decks and patios, the current definition of "enclosed" is somewhat confusing under Wisconsin’s smoke-free air law, but most people have a good understanding of indoors versus outdoors. As the definition of "enclosed" evolves, it is not advisable to jump into any building projects to construct "partially enclosed" outdoor areas, because the structure could be deemed smoke-free at a later time. The bottom line is to use common sense when it comes to where smoking is allowed, outside.

Role of the Persons in Charge

  • May NOT provide matches, lighters, or ashtrays for patrons
  • Must post an adequate number of no smoking signs
  • In the event that someone still tries to smoke, the person in charge should:
    • Ask the person to stop smoking
    • If they don’t stop, refuse them service and ask the person to leave
    • If they do not leave, notify law enforcement
  • Failure to comply with these procedures will result in one warning for the person in charge, followed by a maximum daily fine of $100 to the establishment (regardless of the number of violations)

Community Enforcement

The experience in most states is that smoke-free air laws are usually self-enforcing. The majority of business owners, and the public, want to do the right thing and follow the law. If you find yourself in a situation where the person in charge of an establishment fails to take steps to eliminate smoking, you may contact local law enforcement or issue complaint by telephone or through a web site.

Law Enforcement

Local law enforcement officers have the right to enforce Wisconsin’s smoke-free air law. Forfeitures for businesses that allow smoking will be $100 per day (maximum) and $100-$250 for individuals violating the law. Forfeitures are accompanied by court costs that range from $89-$163.50, depending on your location. Individuals can be fined multiple times each day, but businesses can only be fined once daily

Smoke Free Air Implementation Materials: see