Tobacco-free campus sign

State Smoke-Free Air Law

The smoke-free air law covers all indoor areas where employees or the public gather.

Where Smoking is Prohibited in Wisconsin  

  • Restaurants and taverns
  • Hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts
  • Educational facilities
  • Private clubs
  • Government buildings and state institutions
  • Correctional facilities
  • 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.
  • Health and medical facilities, including inpatient health care facilites
  • Residence halls of college & university campuses
  • Common areas of multi-unit apartment buildings
  • Theaters
  • Child care centers
  • Public transportation
  • All other enclosed workplaces and enclosed places where the public is invited

Where smoking is allowed in Wisconsin

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 persons in charge

  • Do 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)

Enforcement

The experience in most states is that smoke-free air laws are usually self-enforcing. 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 a complaint.

  • Complaint website to report non-compliance with Smoke-Free Air Law: www.wibettersmokefree.com
  • Complaint hotline: 1-800-NO-SMOKE

Failure to follow the law

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.

Resources

Wisconsin's Workplaces are Smoke-Free provides information, signage for business, and violation reporting


Local Smoke-Free Air Laws

Some communities in the Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County jurisdiction have  have further strengthened their local laws in areas the law permits.

Dane County

  • Dane County (non-incorporated areas) - Also includes electronic delivery devices (vape products including JUUL) for all workplaces.
  • Madison - State Law with additional regulations for definition of enclosed area. Also includes electronic delivery devices (vape products including JUUL) for all workplaces. 
    Smoke Free Signage for City of Madison Establishments that includes electronic delivery devices.
  • Oregon - Includes electronic delivery devices (vape products including JUUL) for all workplaces.
  • Middleton - Includes 15 ft. distance from any public (government) building entrance, window, or ventilation intake. Also includes electronic delivery devices (vape products including JUUL) for all workplaces.
  • Stoughton - Includes electronic delivery devices (vape products including JUUL) for all workplaces.
  • Verona - State Law with additional regulations for definition of enclosed area. Includes smoke-free parks.
  • Waunakee - Includes electronic delivery devices (vape products including JUUL) for all workplaces.

Columbia County

  • Columbia County (non-incorporated areas) - Includes electronic delivery devices (vape products including JUUL) on or in government property.
  • Portage - Includes electronic delivery devices (vape products including JUUL) for all workplaces.
  • Wisconsin Dells - Includes smoke-free parks and trails.