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City anti-smoking rules tougher than state’s

With the state Smoke Free Illinois Act going into effect Jan. 1, Evanston health officials remind community members that the city has its own Indoor Clean Air Ordinance that contains some stricter guidelines that supersede the state regulations.

For example, Carla Bush of the city health department says, the city’s ordinance prohibits smoking within 25 feet of any entrances, exits, windows that open, ventilation intakes, or other means by which smoke may infiltrate into an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited. The distance stated in the Illinois law is only 15 feet.

In addition, the city’s ordinance states, "Smoking shall be prohibited in the following places: lobbies, hallways, and other common areas in apartment buildings and condominiums, and housing cooperatives." State regulations do not address common areas of condominiums and housing cooperatives.

Yet another difference is smoking is explicitly prohibited in sidewalk cafes licensed by the city unlike the state law.

Additionally, in the city, smoking is explicitly prohibited in daycare centers, nursery schools, elementary schools, high schools, community colleges, technical training establishments, specialty schools, colleges and universities. The city’s law is more specific than the state ordinance.

City staff will respond to Smoke-Free questions and complaints in addition to Evanston complaints filed with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). For more information on smoke-free Evanston, contact the City of Evanston’s Department of Health & Human Services, (847) 866-2948.

The City of Evanston has had regulations protecting workers and people in public places since July 1, 2006. Earlier this year, the Evanston Smoke-Free Ordinance was amended so that the city’s laws, at minimum, reflect the state law.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will promote state-produced signage, a state-run complaint line, and a State of Illinois tobacco information web site as soon as they are up and approved. The soon-to-be-released state signage should include minimum required signage size, a specific phone number to call to register complaints and Illinois Smoke Free website information.

Smoke free advocate groups have been working together to get out business kits for the hospitality industry across the state.

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