Jeff Angileri
May 20, 2009, 9:10 PM

The moment the statewide smoking ban takes effect in July 2010, health experts will be closely watching to see how it impacts healthcare across Wisconsin.

And they already have high hopes.

Wisconsin is about to get a whole lot healthier, experts say.

Beginning in July of next year, no one will be able to smoke in bars, workplaces and restaurants. Health officials are anticipating a drop in smoking-related illnesses.

Chronic bronchitis, obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, asthma, those are the big ones, heart disease as well, said Dan McGarry, certified physician assistant with Dean Health.

When the days of smoke-filled rooms are finally over, they're predicting a healthy domino effect.

Not only the people who are bartenders and waitresses and all the people who are involved in that, but also all the people getting second-hand smoke that don't want second-hand smoke, McGarry said.

7,800 people in Wisconsin die each year from smoking. Health experts believe that number will drop as the ban causes people to quit.

Any sort of ban that's in place, whether it's here in the United States, or Norway or Ireland, there is always a significant rise of people quitting cigarettes, said McGarry.

80 percent of smokers want to quit, and experts say the ban will give them another reason.

It's not as accepted socially any longer, so they're able to get another good excuse to stop, McGarry said.

If you're ready to quit smoking, you can get help by calling the free tobacco quit line, 1-800-QUIT-NOW.