The Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act restricts where smoking is allowed by prohibiting it in public places and providing for penalties should the act be violated by individuals who smoke in a smoke-free location or by businesses who let them smoke in one of these smoke-free locations. Areas where smoking is banned by this act, are enclosed work areas open to the public or that serve the public. This ban includes “hospitals, restaurants, retail stores, offices, commercial establishments, nursing homes, auditoriums, sports arenas, meeting rooms, libraries, museums, schools and elevators.” Even though smoking is banned in these locations, areas at these locations can be designated as smoking areas if the managers of these locations choose to do so and follow the rules regulating these designated smoking areas. To designate an areas as a smoking area, the business manager must see to it that there is some type of physical barrier between the smoke-free area and the area to be utilized. There must also be a ventilation system in place to move the second-hand smoke out of the area while preventing it from entering the smoke-free areas of the establishment. There must also be signs posted in the designated smoking area stating that smoking is permitted in this area.
Even though the Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act was created and put into effect to prohibit smoking in certain areas, it also states where smoking is permitted. Private homes and vehicles are exempt from the smoke-free ban as long as they are not used for one of the businesses where smoking is prohibited. Other locations where smoking is permitted is bowling alleys; locations that primarily sell alcoholic beverages such as bars; boarding rooms; hotel and motel guest rooms; private offices used by smokers; and meeting rooms or halls used for a private, sponsored event, not open to the public. One other group of locations where smoking has not been banned in Illinois is factories and warehouses. This is because they are generally not enclosed and they do not welcome the public into them.
The Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act provides for penalties to be given to violators. Smoking in the public places where smoking is prohibited can result in a petty offense with a fine of up to $500 and a court injunction which could end up with a separate fine and/or jail time. Business owners or representatives can also face a court injunctions resulting in a fine and/or jail time if they do not “make reasonable efforts to prevent smoking in the public place”, if they fail to post the proper signs or if they fail to contact law enforcement when needed.
With the strong movement to crackdown on second-hand smoke traveling throughout the United States, state-by-state, smokers and business owners alike have to become fully aware of where smoking is permitted legally and where it is not. They should also be aware that there are penalties if they are found in violation of the Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act.