Smoking study shows decrease in pollutants

Kaitlin Mahr

Last week the Appleton Post-Crescent published an article that could greatly affect the success of the smoking ban in the April 2006 referendum.
The article, published Nov. 15, talks about a study funded by the political action group Friends of Clean Air Works.
The study found a 95 percent decrease in air pollutants in 10 Appleton bars where smoking has been banned since July 1, compared to 19 bars outside Appleton where smoking is allowed.
According to the article, the bar owners of the area say that the study offers no surprises and that the issue is still how the smoking ban affects business.
The Friends of Clean Air Works is made up of 65 Fox Valley physicians who say that the issue is public health and improving the community’s health.
In the article, The Friends of Clean Air Works says they want to use the study to urge surrounding communities like Kimberly and Grand Chute to also adopt a non-smoking policy and support those voters who voted for the ban in the April 2005 referendum.
Will the study affect how people vote in the April 2006 referendum that would exempt some businesses from the ban?
Emily Lambert, a student at Lawrence and a bartender downtown, says she will be voting against the ban in the April 2006 referendum.
She appreciates not having to deal with smoke when she’s working, but when she’s out as a paying customer of these bars, she thinks “it’s mainly an inconvenience.”
Lambert says she has noticed a big difference in the business, especially those that don’t serve food. There may be an increase in the lunch crowd, especially with families, but during the evening many of the smoking patrons of the bars just drive a few minutes outside Appleton, where the bars don’t have a smoking ban.
Rebecca Heinen, another Lawrence student, feels differently about the smoking ban. She enjoys going to the non-smoking bars because she is “able to go out and not come home smelling of smoke and needing to Febreze [her] clothes.”
Heinen feels that the study is good because it supports the ban, but she doesn’t think it will make a difference in the way people vote because they already know that smoking creates pollutants and not smoking obviously reduces them.
We’ll have to wait until April to find out exactly how influential the study turns out to be. Until then, enjoy the healthier environment when you’re out drinking downtown.