Randy Bradley, Co-Chair, BreatheFREE Stevens Point
Nancy Schultz, Co-Chair, BreatheFREE Stevens Point
On August 24, 2005, the Wisconsin Department of Work force Development released the most current unemployment rates for Wisconsin and many of its municipalities. With all the “doom and gloom” predictions about the effects of healthy indoor air, that communities will become “ghost towns” and other stories of alleged economic disaster that have been perpetuated by the Wisconsin Tavern League and other smoking activists, it is interesting to look at the true results.
Wisconsin employment as a whole improved by .2% over the past month. Unemployment was 4.8% a year ago, 4.8% a month ago and it is now 4.6%.
The city of Appleton started their comprehensive smoking ordinance July 1. They were at 4.6% a year ago and a month ago. They are 4.1% now. They improved .5% or more than twice as much as the State as a whole.
Madison also started their comprehensive ordinance July 1. A year ago they were at 3.7%, a month ago 3.6%, and they are now at 3.2%, which is the lowest in the State and an improvement of .5%!
Oshkosh has had their ordinance off and on for about a year. They were at 4.8% a year ago, and are now at 4.2%. for an improvement of .6%!
Wausau has had an off-and-on ordinance for a couple of months now. A year ago they were at 4.6%, 4.3% a month ago and they are at 3.8% now. This is an improvement of .8% from last year.
While employment rates in the State as a whole improved .2%, the cities that were wise enough to approve a smoke-free ordinance in the last year have, in the most recent month of their smoke-free ordinances, improved by an average of .6%, which is three times better than the State as a whole.
The Tavern League, and others who believe that business health is more important than human health, have suggested that healthy indoor air and healthy business are incompatible. If employment levels are at all representative of business success, it would appear that smoking activists are, again, just blowing smoke.
For complete Wisconsin Workplace Development results go to: http://www.dwd.state.wi.us/dwd/newsreleases/2005/unemployment/july05_local_l mi_final.pdf