The Evanston City Council voted tonight to strengthen its clean air ordinance to ban smoking in all bars and restaurants in the city effective July 1.
The ordinance was approved on an 8-1 vote after Ald. Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, who had opposed the measure in committee, switched his position.
That left only Alderman Steve Bernstein, 4th Ward, advocating that Evanston postpone implementation of the stronger rules until 2008, when similar provisions already adopted by Chicago will go into effect. Ald. Bernstein said an earlier effective date might hurt hospitality-industry business in Evanston.
Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward, and others said they were convinced that the experience of other cities with complete smoking bans has demonstrated that restaurants and bars tend to show an increase in business, rather than a decrease, once smoking bans go into effect.
A cluster of residents supporting the ban at the council meeting wore stickers reading â€œI support a smoke-free Evanston.â€
No restaurant or bar owners appeared to speak against the proposal, but David Baum of 2424 Lincoln St., said that as a smoker and a lawyer he opposed the ordinance’s â€œbig brother approach.â€
â€œWe tend to have knee-jerk reactions to situations in Evanston,â€ Mr. Baum said, â€œand this is another one of them.â€
The ordinance will also prohibit smoking in public areas of condominiums and other multi-unit dwellings.