News Local/State

Illinois House Approves Smoke-Free Campus Measure


Smoking would be banned on public college campuses under legislation approved Wednesday by the Illinois House.  The ban would apply almost everywhere on campus -- including outdoors.

Backers point to the dangers of second-hand smoke, and say the legislation is a matter of public health.

Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) says Illinois already prohibits smoking on elementary and high school grounds.

"This is an important next step to protect the public health, which is why it is supported by numerous organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Lung Association, and many, many more," she said.

But an opponent notes the boards of several colleges and universities have already made their campuses smoke-free. 

Rep. Chad Hays (R-Catlin) said that includes Danville Area Community College and the University of Illinois.

"And I guess my question is: What other areas are we going to be deciding the day-to-day policy of our universities from the floor of this chamber, in addition to smoking?," he said.

The measure passed on a vote of 67-44. It now goes to the Senate, where a slightly different version of the ban narrowly passed last year.