The Smoke Free Illinois Act went into effect 5 years ago today (Jan. 1, 2013), banning smoking in public places like offices, bars and restaurants. But there continues to be efforts to scale it back. Rachel Otwell explains:
Representative Anthony DeLuca, a Democrat from Chicago Heights, tried to change Illinois law to allow certain bars and private clubs to once again allow smoking in-doors. He says he’s not a smoker and prefers non-smoking establishments. But …
DeLUCA : “There are others that would be happy to patronize a smoking establishment so they don’t have to stand outside in a snow-drift and smoke their cigarette.”
That was back in February. The measure failed, which the Illinois Department of Public Health considers good news. Melaney Arnold is a spokeswoman for the agency.
ARNOLD: “From a purely public health stand-point, the last thing we want to do is relax the Smoke Free Illinois Act.”
Arnold says there’s proof that the law has reduced the number of smokers in Illinois. She says more than 90 percent of adults report no second-hand smoke in public places. And the amount of calls to the Illinois Tobacco Quitline has increased by 45 percent since the ban.