New legislation has been passed in the House that will ban smoking on campuses of public universities in Illinois.
The Smoke Free Campus Act provides that smoking be prohibited on all campuses of a state supported institution of higher education July 1, meaning all offices, dorms and outdoor areas.
The Smoke Free Campus Act is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan and Democratic state Rep. Ann Williams of Chicago. The Act will now move to the Senate after it passed by a 67-44 vote by the House Wednesday. It was originally filed Feb. 15.
The act will not apply to individuals smoking in their vehicles on campus or to those driving through campus in their vehicles. Campuses must ban smoking no less restrictive that this Act and must enforce the Act with disciplinary action, fines and an appeal process.
Smoking is already banned in many places at ISU including all buildings and facilities, inside sports stadiums, gymnasiums, pavilions,or other places where the general public may assemble, as well as inside all University vehicles and within a distance of 15 feet from entrances, exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes that serve any campus building. In December 2012, ISU banned smoking from additional areas like the Quad, including all sidewalks, walk ways and seating areas, the State Farm Hall of Business courtyard, the DeGarmo forecourt, the area between the State Farm Hall of Business and the South University Street Parking Garage, Schroeder Plaza and the College Avenue pedestrian bridge, Milner plaza, and the In Exchange sculpture garden and the walkways between the Quad and the In Exchange sculpture garden. While this seems like most of the campus, there are some areas that the Smoke Free Campus Act would affect.
“There are still lots of locations that people may smoke … The Smoke Free Campus Act will essentially ban smoking accross the entire campus,” John Crabill, director of environmental health and safety at ISU, said.
Surveys that were distributed by the Student Government Association showed that students on campus were looking to expand smoke free areas. The Smoke Free Campus Act is a result of research done on smoking and the affects of second and third hand smoke.
“Smoke free policies create a healthier environment for people to be in because they are not exposed to secondhand smoke and there is less littering of cigarette butts … Smoke-free policies are about making the environment the healthiest it can be for everyone,” Erin Link, communications and marketing coordinator of Health Promotion & Wellness at ISU, said.
Supporters of the law say that it is the right move in terms of public health, but opponents say that it does not prompt individuals to quit smoking.
The legislation is SB2202.