The advocates who brought us the Smoke-Free Illinois Act are marking five years since the law took effect. Dr. Carrie Nelson, president of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, says there have been benefits since smoking was banned in bars, restaurants, casinos and other workplaces on New Year’s Day 2008.
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“Our patients with chronic illnesses can dine out anywhere they wish, our youngest children have never seen a smoking section in a restaurant, those who work in bars, entertainment venues, casinos and hotels breathe clean air in every room at their workplace,” she said Wednesday at a news conference to note the five-year anniversary of the law. The news conference was held at a restaurant in Chicago whose owner was one of the first in the hospitality industry to support a ban.
The American Lung Association is out with a survey that shows support for the law at 77 percent statewide, with the strongest support in the Chicago suburbs. For Downstate, the support was 77 percent in Northern Illinois and 73 percent in Southern Illinois. The response varies little by age, sex or political affiliation or philosophy. However, non-smokers support the law (82 percent) more than smokers (53 percent). Smokers under age 50 give the law 63 percent support. (Fako & Associates, Dec. 3-4, 2012, 601 registered voters in Illinois, margin of error +/- 3.94 percent)