Monday, June 15, 2009

New Illinois Nonsmoking Regulations

Now there are clear terms to state that violators of Smoke-Free Illinois Act will face civil but not criminal charges.

Public Act 95-1029, signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn, amends the Smoke-Free Illinois Act by specifying that violations are treated as civil matters and the hearings shall be conducted by the Illinois Department of Public Health in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. While the penalties will still include fines but not include jail time.

The Illinois non-smoking law defines smoking as carrying a lit cigarette, pipe, cigar or any other smoking material or implement. In addition, smoking, burning, inhaling and exhaling are also defined as smoking. The law specifically prohibits herbs and weeds as well as tobacco.

According to the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, every employer must post signs prohibiting smoking within 15 feet of any windows that open or ventilation intakes that serve an indoor workplace. It is also prohibited to smoke in all workplaces, including bars, restaurants, schools, theaters and casinos.
Before the regulation, the Chicago Tribune reports that some local law enforcement authorities were treating violations as criminal matters. However, At least one judge ruled that the county courts could not enforce the statute until the State adopted administrative rules. As a result, some counties in rural downstate Illinois stopped enforcing the law.


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