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Smoking Ban Debated

Publication Date: 3/24/2005
  • Author:Abi Ray
  • Publication:WREX-TV Channel 13 (Rockford, IL)
State lawmakers consider a bill that would give all communities in Illinois the authority to enact smoking bans. Right now, only about 20 cities have that power and Rockford isn't one of them.

21 cities in Illinois are home-rule communities. That means their city councils can make decisions like banning smoking in public places without getting approval from the state. But now, health advocates want to expand that authority to non-home-rule communities like Rockford. Rockford Mayor Doug Scott says, "It really is a sensitive issue for bar and restaurant owners."

The bill that's in the Illinois House and Senate would give all the state's 1,200 towns, villages, and cities the ability to ban smoking. Health organizations like the American Lung Association support it saying it would decrease people's exposure to second-hand smoke. But some local lawmakers worry paving the way for smoking bans could cause problems. Senator Dave Syverson says, "When consumers want non-smoking, they'll go to non-smoking restaurants. It'll take care of itself."