State Celebrates 10 Years of Smoke Free Illinois Act
(December 26, 2017) -
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January 1, 2018 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Smoke Free Illinois Act, a comprehensive smokefree law that protects citizens from secondhand smoke and improves community health.
“It’s a significant accomplishment to be 10 years smokefree here in Illinois. Many states, including our neighbor Indiana, don’t have comprehensive smokefree laws, so many of their workers and citizens continue to be exposed to dangerous secondhand smoke every day,” said Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy for the American Lung Association, Upper Midwest Region.
In fact, secondhand smoke has 7,000 chemicals, including 70 that cause cancer. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes an estimated 41,000 deaths from lung cancer and heart disease among adults each year in the United States. Secondhand smoke exposure in nonsmokers increases the risk of stroke 20 percent to 30 percent.
This comprehensive law, which replaced the limited Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act, required that public places and places of employment were required to be completely smokefree inside and within 15 feet of entrances, exits, windows and ventilation intakes. This law prohibited smoking in all restaurants, bars, gaming facilities, concert halls, bowling allies and all other indoor locations in the state.
“While this is a huge milestone for our state, there is still work to be done to protect our residents from the impacts of tobacco and secondhand smoke,” Drea added. “In 2018, we will be working to introduce legislation to raise the purchasing age of tobacco products from 18 to 21. We are also working with behavioral health facilities to implement smoking cessation programs for their residents.”
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.