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Government East parking garage

Madison officials have proposed to ban smoking in all parts of city parking parking garages, including the Government East ramp near the state Capitol.

Madison officials are looking to extend the city’s smoking ban, this time to the city’s parking garages.

Mayor Paul Soglin and Alds. Mike Verveer and Ledell Zellers on Tuesday offered an ordinance to prohibit smoking in the city’s five parking garages, including in elevators and staircases.

The proposal also would ban smoking within five feet of entrances of the garages.

“It’s a good thing,” said Ryan Sheahan, Tobacco Free Living Program coordinator for Public Health Madison Dane County. “We know second-hand smoke is dangerous. Even exposure in outdoor areas can exacerbate conditions such as asthma.”

The ordinance will be considered by the city Transit and Parking Commission with the City Council making a decision at a later date.

Madison has been a leader on smoke-free issues.

In April 2004, the City Council voted 15-5 amid controversy to enact the state’s first full smoking ban in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and other workplaces, with the prohibition going into effect the following year.

Over the years, other local jurisdictions have passed smoke-free laws — Dane County’s began in 2009 — and some are stronger than Madison’s, which has an exemption for a cigar bar and doesn’t cover outdoor areas. The state’s ban on smoking in workplaces was enacted in 2010.

In June 2015, Madison banned the use of electronic delivery devices, or vaping, in the areas covered by its smoking ban.


Dean Mosiman covers Madison city government for the Wisconsin State Journal.