SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – An attempt to carve out an exception to Smoke Free Illinois has failed. The House has shot down a bill that would have allowed certain businesses to apply for “smoking licenses.”
Private clubs, strip clubs, many taverns and gambling facilities would be those businesses. State Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights) sponsored the bill, saying it should be allowable for adults to smoke, drink, and eat at the same time without government interference. Opponents said the law, which forbids smoking in most public places in the state, should hold with no cracks.
The non-smoking law, which took effect in 2008, was introduced on workplace safety grounds. During debate on DeLuca’s bill, State Rep. Karen May (D-Highland Park) said employees of establishments which allow smoking would be “faced with the decision of possibly losing their job or subjecting themselves to a known health hazard.”
State Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-Maywood), the sponsor of the original Smoke Free Illinois bill, went further, calling a license to smoke “a license to kill.” She says the rights that matter more are those of 83 percent of Illinois adults who are nonsmokers. H.B. 1310 failed in the House, 30-82-5.