The Smoke-free Illinois Act prohibits smoking in virtually all public places and workplaces, including offices, theaters, museums, libraries, educational institutions, schools, commercial establishments, enclosed shopping centers and retail stores, restaurants, bars, private clubs and gaming facilities.
Illinois has taken this important step to protect its residents, workers and visitors from the harmful and hazardous effects of secondhand smoke. (Effective January 1, 2008)
 
Understanding the Smoke-free Illinois Act
As of January 1, 2008, indoor public places and places of employment in Illinois will be smoke-free. This includes, but is not limited to, restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, private clubs and gaming facilities.
 The Smoke-free Illinois Act
The Smoke-free Illinois Act protects the public from the harmful effects of exposure to tobacco smoke by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment and within 15 feet of any entrance, exit, windows that open, or ventilation intake of a public place or place of employment. Public places and places of employment include, but are not limited to, restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, private clubs and gaming facilities. Smoking also is prohibited in public conveyances, such as taxis, buses, shuttles, and any vehicle owned, leased or operated by the state or a political subdivision of the state.
The act also includes requirements for signage and describes how to lodge a complaint, the enforcement process and how fines will be determined for violations. Local ordinances may have additional regulations on where smoking is prohibited. To learn more about whether additional regulations apply, contact your local health department.
 
 
Secondhand smoke
Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke exhaled by a smoker and the smoke from a burning cigarette. This combination is dangerous for both the smoker and the nonsmoker. Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including more than 50 known cancer-causing substances. When nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke, they inhale many of the same cancer-causing chemicals that smokers inhale. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Even small amounts of secondhand smoke exposure can be harmful to people’s health. For more information, go to the 2006 Surgeon General's Report: The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke available on-line.
Servers have higher rates of lung and heart disease than any other traditionally female occupational group, according to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the same report, one work shift in a smoky bar is equivalent to smoking 16 cigarettes a day. In addition, according to the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health, two hours in a smoky bar is the same as smoking four cigarettes.
Smoke-free Illinois Act’s affect on business and tourism
According to the 2005 Illinois Adult Tobacco Survey, eight in 10 adults (80.1%) believe a ban on smoking in restaurants would not make a difference in how often they dine out. More than one in 10 (12.6%) would dine out more often if there were a total ban on smoking in restaurants.
Studies of cities and states with smoke-free work place laws that include bars and restaurants provide strong evidence the law will have a neutral or even a positive impact on the business. The California Smoke-free Workplace Act has been in effect since 1998 and taxable annual sales for bars and restaurants show a steady increase. In 1998, sales were up more than 5 percent; in 1999, sales were up more than 8 percent; and in 2000, sales were up more than 9 percent. Additional studies of smoke-free workplaces, including restaurants and bars, show profits increase with the increased productivity of their employees and a decrease in maintenance costs.
  
A Guide for Restaurants and Bars
Proprietor requirements
Beginning January 1, 2008, business owners shall:
  • Not permit smoking at their business, or within 15 feet from entrances, exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes.
  • Post “No Smoking” signs at each entrance to the place of employment or public place where smoking is prohibited. “No Smoking” signs must comply with the specification in the Smoke-free Illinois Act.
  • Remove ashtrays from areas where smoking is prohibited.
There is no requirement for an employer to provide an outdoor shelter for smokers. As part of the workplace, private offices also must be smoke-free since smoking is prohibited throughout the workplace.  Additionally, employers may designate additional areas in the workplace as smoke-free.
________________________________________________________________
 
A Guide for Workplaces
Business owner requirements
Beginning January 1, 2008, business owners shall:
  • Not permit smoking at their business or within 15 feet of entrances, exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes. 
  • Post “No Smoking” signs at each entrance to the place of employment or public place where smoking is prohibited. “No Smoking” signs must comply with the specification in the Smoke-free Illinois Act. 
  • Remove ashtrays from areas where smoking is prohibited. 
There is no requirement for an employer to provide an outdoor shelter for smokers. As part of the workplace, private offices also must be smoke-free since smoking is prohibited throughout the workplace.  Additionally, employers may designate additional areas in the workplace as smoke-free. 
The benefits of removing secondhand smoke:
  • Protect workers from dangerous chemicals found in secondhand smoke
  • Lower maintenance expenses (carpet and drape cleaning, paintwork)
  • Lower insurance premiums (fire, medical, workers compensation, liability)
  • Lower labor costs (absenteeism, productivity)
Workplaces where smoking is prohibited
The Smoke-free Illinois Act prohibits smoking in indoor public places and workplaces unless specifically exempted.  A “public place” includes, but is not limited to:
  • hospitals
  • restaurants
  • bars
  • taverns
  • retail stores
  • offices
  • elevators
  • indoor theatres
  • libraries
  • museums
  • concert halls
  • educational facilities
  • auditoriums
  • enclosed or partially enclosed sports arenas
  • meeting rooms
  • schools
  • exhibition halls
  • convention facilities
  • polling places
  • private clubs
  • gaming facilities
  • dormitories
  • health care facilities or clinics
  • enclosed shopping centers
  • retail service establishments
  • financial institutions
  • educational facilities
  • ticket areas
  • public hearing facilities
  • restrooms
  • waiting areas
  • lobbies
  • bowling alleys
  • skating rinks
  • reception areas
  • churches
  • public conveyances
  • government owned vehicles and facilities, including buildings and vehicles owned, leased or operated by the state or state subcontract
  • no less than 75 percent of the sleeping quarters within a hotel, motel, resort, inn, lodge, bed and breakfast or other similar public accommodation rented to guests prohibited. Not more than 25 percent of the rooms designated for useto guests in a hotel or motel may be designated as rooms where smoking is allowed. The status of rooms as smoking or nonsmoking may not be changed, except to permanently add additional nonsmoking rooms.
Exemptions to the Smoke-free Illinois Act
  • Retail tobacco stores in operation prior to January 1, 2008 that derive more than 80 percent of their gross revenue from the sale of loose tobacco, plants, or herbs and cigars, cigarettes, pipes, and other smoking devices for burning tobacco and related smoking accessories are exempt. Retail tobacco store that begins operation after January 1, 2008 may only qualify for an exemption if located in a freestanding structure occupied solely by the business and smoke from the business does not migrate into an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited. A tobacco department or section of a larger commercial establishment or an establishment with any type of liquor, food, or restaurant license is not considered a retail tobacco store and must comply with the Smoke-free Illinois Act. Annually, by January 31, the retail tobacco store shall provide an affidavit to the Illinois Department of Public Health stating the percentage of its gross income that was derived from the sale of tobacco products, as described above.
  • Private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are exempt under the Smoke-free Illinois Act. These facilities, however, must comply with statutes and administrative rules under which the facility is licensed and the fire protection and life safety codes included in those rules.
  • Hotel and motel sleeping rooms rented to guests and are designated as smoking rooms are exempt from the act, provided that all smoking rooms on the same floor must be contiguous and smoke from these rooms must not infiltrate into nonsmoking rooms or other areas where smoking is
Requirement to post signs
 “No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbol, consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it, must be clearly and conspicuously posted in each public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited. 
 
 
Proprietor responsibilities
The purpose of the Smoke-free Illinois Act is to protect others from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. An employee or a member of the public can file a complaint against an individual or business that violates the law.
Failure to comply
If the business owner fails to comply with the Smoke-free Illinois Act, an employee or patron may file a complaint The Illinois Department of Public Health, state-certified local public health departments and local law enforcement agencies are designated enforcement agencies under the Smoke-free Illinois Act.
Businesses found in violation of the Smoke-free Illinois Act are subject to fines. Fines are assessed at $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation and a $2,500 minimum fine for all subsequent violations within one year of the first violation.
Fines for individuals who violate the Smoke-free Illinois Act are not less than $100 and not more than $250.
Employees and patrons who want to quit smoking
If you smoke and want to quit, or know someone who wants to quit, call the Illinois Tobacco Quit Line toll-free at 866-QUIT-YES (866-784-8937), which is operated by the American Lung Association in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Public Health. This free telephone service provides smokers and people who want to help them quit with information and advice about how to quit successfully.
 
The Smoke-free Illinois websitehttp://www.smoke-free.illinois.gov/ ) is designed to provide a variety of informational resources. Please visit the Smoke-Free Illinois website to become more informed about the Smoke-free Illinois law, to access information about secondhand smoke or to seek assistance to quit smoking.
To lodge a complaint about an establishment in St. Clair County, please contact the Environmental Health Division at (618) 233-7769.
Links & Resources
 
    
Smoke-Free sign for posting
  
Smoke-Free sign for posting(spanish)