Smoke Free Illinois Act

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The Smoke Free Illinois Act (410 ILCS 82; Public Act 095-0017) is a comprehensive anti-smoking law that took effect in Illinois on January 1, 2008 (2008-01-01), and bans smoking inside most buildings and vehicles used by the general public, used as a place of employment, or owned by the government or other public body. It also requires "no-smoking" signs, bans smoking within 15 feet (4.6 m) of openings in the targeted buildings, and requires at least 75% of rooms in each hotel to be non-smoking. It replaced the more limited Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act (410 ILCS 80).


On January 11, 2007, Illinois State Senator John J. Cullerton introduced comprehensive legislation that would make Illinois workplaces and indoor public places smoke-free. Similar legislation was also introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives as House Bill 246 by Representative Karen Yarbrough. The American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society of Illinois joined more than 450 other organizations in applauding State Senator Cullerton and State Representative Karen Yarbrough for this important step.[1]

The Illinois General Assembly put the Smoke-Free Illinois Act into effect beginning January 1, 2008.[2] Per Damon T. Arnold, M.D., M.P.H Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, "The Smoke-free Illinois Website is designed to provide a variety of informational resources. I encourage you to read the information contained here to become more informed about the Smoke-free Illinois law, to access information about secondhand smoke, to seek assistance to quit smoking or to lodge a complaint about a possible violation."[3]


As of January 1, 2008, the Smoke-Free Illinois Act requires that public places and places of employment must be completely smoke-free inside and within 15 feet from entrances, exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes.[3] This includes but is not limited to:


  • A private residence, as long as it is not used as a home-based business, open to the public: child care, healthcare facility, adult daycare
  • Retail tobacco stores whose sales from tobacco are greater than 80 percent of total revenue and do not have a liquor, restaurant, or food license
  • Nursing homes or long-term care facilities both private, and semi-private, where all of the occupant(s) smoke, and have requested to be in a smoking room
  • Hotel or motel rooms, up to 25 percent of capacity, as long as the rooms are on the same floor, and the smoke does not get into the non-smoking rooms.


The Smoke Free Illinois Act (Senate Bill 500, P.A. 95-0017), and codified as 410 ILCS 82 took effect January 1, 2008. It repeals the Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act (410 ILCS 80) and it amends the State Mandates Act (30 ILCS 805) by adding Section 8.31. Enforcement, fines, and proprietor responsibilities are outlined per the Illinois Municipal League Newsletter dated December 13, 2007.[4][page needed]


The Illinois Department of Public Health, local public health departments, and local law enforcement agencies are required to enforce the act. These agencies may assess fines to any corporation, partnership, association or other entity violating the no smoking provisions of the act. Each day that a violation occurs is a separate violation. (410 ILCS 82/40)


A person who smokes in a prohibited area shall be fined from $100 to $250. A person who owns, operates, or otherwise controls a public place or place of employment that violates the act shall be fined not less than $250 for the first violation, not less than $500 for the second violation within one year after the first violation, and not less than $2,500 for each additional violation within one year after the first violation. (410 ILCS 82/45)

Proprietor Responsibilities

Post a "no smoking" sign at each entrance. Do not permit smoking in a public place, a place of employment or within 15 feet of any entrance. Remove ashtrays from all areas where smoking is prohibited. (410 ILCS 82/20)

Working with violators[edit]

As of 5 February 2008, Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Fulton counties' Health Departments have not fined any businesses for violations of the smoking ban yet. Instead, they are trying to work with the businesses in order to educate them about the law. Brian Tun, the director of health promotion at the Peoria County Health Department, estimated that about forty complaints had been made in the Peoria County area already. If they do not send someone to investigate, they will send a letter to remind the business to comply with the law. He also stated a second warning letter has not been necessary to send out yet. The Health Department officials are undecided on how to handle additional violations after the second warning, if they are to go beyond the state's minimums. Sara Sparkman is the Tazewell County Health Department's Community Relations Manager. She said they have received seventeen complaints from nine separate locations. Violations include an informative letter for a first violation, a warning letter for a second violation, a meeting with the owner for a third violation, and probably fines after that.[5][date missing][page needed]


Some business owners operate a smoking area through a loophole in the law. For around $5,000, a business could install a smoking hut or shack outside their establishment.[6] Since the state and city regulations have not been formed yet, owners can install these for their employees as well as their customers. Many bar owners are even going as far as installing TVs in their smoking huts.[7]

Assistance for hospital employees[edit]

From 1993 to 1996, the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine decided to run an experiment, partially funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF),[8] which has a national program known as the Tobacco Policy Research and Evaluation Program. The researchers were on a quest to find out if the new smoke-free restrictions put on hospitals would hinder or help the facility's employees. They tested on over a thousand hospitals. Notable results were found that included hospital compliance to the new laws, employees who were under this ban were more likely to quit, and smokers under pressure from fellow employees to follow the rules were more apt to stop smoking as well.

Challenges to law[edit]

The Smoke Free Illinois Act has been challenged many times in Illinois circuit courts and, generally speaking, cases have been dismissed when various challenges were raised. In an effort to make the statute enforceable, the General Assembly passed changes to the Smoke Free Illinois Act to specify that enforcement would occur before an administrative agency, rather than before courts. However, the new amendments specify that the agency, the Illinois Department of Public Health, does not have the authority to pass rules or regulations under the new statute, without first gaining approval from the Legislature. Some believe that this renders the statute unconstitutional, because enforcement actions before the agency will concern only interpretation and enforcement of a statute, rather than of a statute in combination with an agency's rules or regulations. Interpreting and enforcing statutes, without reference to agency rules or regulations, has traditionally been the province of the Illinois courts, rather than being left to agencies to adjudicate. So if the Illinois Department of Public Health attempts to enforce the newly amended statute, it is anticipated that there will be a constitutional challenge claiming that the delegation of authority to the agency fails and that it intrudes on the traditional role of courts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Smoke Free Illinois Act - American Lung Association". Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  2. ^ "". 2005-06-30. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  3. ^ a b "". 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  4. ^[page needed]
  5. ^[date missing][page needed]
  6. ^ Ford, Liam (2008-01-29). "Thank you for smoking –in a hut". Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  7. ^ "Employees taking a break in a smoke hut". Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  8. ^ "Smoke-Free Hospitals Lead to Smoke-Free Employees". Retrieved 2011-08-17. 

External links[edit]