Less than half of the Dane County Board right now supports a proposed countywide ban on smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants. It would apply only to businesses in towns because county leaders can not legislate for city and villages. Supervisor Bob Salov says there's no need for county action on this issue. "In the rural areas, the smoking prohibition is regulated by the business owner, and I believe that's the way it should be," says Salov. "The proprietors of those businesses make those decisions, and the guests make the decision on where to go."
Supervisor Donna Vogel also has some concerns: "it creates a disparate impact when you are going to ban this is rural areas, when we have no authority to do the same thing in the incorporated areas." Backers of the smoking ban say its a public health issue. If passed, Dane County would become the first in the state to ban smoking in taverns and second to ban smoking in restaurants. La Crosse County passed a smoking ban in restaurants in 2003.