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Some say state should butt out on smoking rules

Publication Date: 2005-03-23
  • Author:MARY TALLON
  • Publication:Northwest Indiana Times

Health advocates want cities to set their own regulations

While some states and even entire countries have severely restricted smoking, most Illinois cities are barred by state law from regulating tobacco use.

Only 21 Illinois cities are currently allowed to set their own smoking rules. Health advocates want lawmakers to extend that right to all 1,200 cities, towns and villages in the state, a plan opposed by business groups that say smoking rules should be set by individual establishments rather than the government.

When Illinois adopted statewide restrictions on smoking in public places in 1989, it barred cities from taking any action of their own, such as extending those regulations to restaurants and bars. The only exceptions were a handful of cities that already had adopted smoking ordinances.

The American Lung Association has been fighting ever since for a law that would let all cities regulate smoking.