Illinois Colleges To Be Smoke-Free Indoors And Out
Illinois' public colleges are going smoke-free - indoors and out - starting next summer.
Gov. Pat Quinn says he's signed a law that bans indoor and outdoor smoking at all state-supported colleges and universities.
The bill makes exceptions for smoking inside privately owned vehicles traveling through campus and some activities under the federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
A companion bill signed by Quinn also allows smoking on campus inside parked, non-state-owned vehicles.
The University of Illinois went smoke-free in January of this year.
Quinn says the measure will protect students' health and help nonsmokers avoid unwanted smoke. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan and state Rep. Ann Williams of Chicago, both Democrats.
Restaurant owners had several months to prepare for the new restriction. The smoking ban become law in March, but it didn't go until affect until the start of this month.
Businesses covered by the policy must remove all ashtrays and post signs stating that smoking is prohibited within 8 feet of an entrance.
Liz Hammer works as a waitress at Benjamin's Restaurant in Covington, and she said business has not been hurt by the ban.
"We've only had two people that have even asked us if we still have smoking," Hammer said. "You know, like most people already know it, and the ones that have we just told them that it's gone statewide and we've had absolutely no problems."
Susan Smith runs the Duck's Diner in West Lebanon. She said she began preparing for the transition about three months ago by creating smoking and non-smoking dining areas.
"I lost, I think, two customers when I separated the two because there were two customers who didn't want to go to back, but in turn, I gained customers because I have a non-smoking dining room," Smith said.
Now, Smith said she hasn't seen a drop in business since the smoking ban started up.
Unlike Illinois where you can't smoke in a public place, in Indiana smoking is still allowed at bars, casinos, horse-racing facilities, retail tobacco shops and private clubs.
Backers of the measure say they want to see the law become more restrictive, while critics argue that it should be up to business owners to allow smoking.