La Crosse, WI (WXOW)-- It's been two years since Wisconsin banned smoking in public places including restaurants and bars.
When the state decided to go smoke-free, Adam Weissenberger, owner of Sloopy's Alma Mater, decided to build an outdoor patio so smokers had a place to go.
"It is pretty popular, except when it's hot like it was this week" Weissenberger said.
Weissenberger estimates about a quarter of his customer's smoke and says Sloopy's has not been impacted by the ban.
"I think, if anything, its kept business at the same level, maybe a little better."
According to a report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin restaurant and tavern industry showed growth in sales of 1 to two percent since going smoke-free. However it's hard to link the change in business directly to the smoke free law.
"I do see more families coming in," Weissenberger said. "And I have two or three areas they can come outside and smoke, the smokers, if they want to. So, I mean the families come in, people are eating more food."
Mike Brown is the president of the La Crosse Tavern League and owns the Logan Bar. He's a non-smoker but believes his customers should have the option of smoking, and business owners should not be told how to run their establishments.
"We felt the smokers wanted a place to go," Brown said. "You have to be a legal age to be in here and they smoke a legal product."
The Logan Bar has sustained business, but Brown says not all taverns have been as lucky.
"The first year was the most difficult; most of them have come back," Brown said. "Customers have adjusted to going outside to smoke and stuff. Some places haven't recovered yet. The places that serve food seem to do a little better."
But whether or not customers agree with the law, both Brown and Weissenberger say everyone does a good job obeying it.
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