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Illinois is 19th State to Ban Smoking

Posted Jul 23, 2007 7:19 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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With the stroke of the state governor's pen, Illinois today became the 19th state to ban smoking in most public buildings.

The ban, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2008, applies to smokers in "bars, restaurants and just about every other public place where they might still be hanging out," reports the Chicago Tribune. Similar restrictions had been imposed by 44 Illinois municipalities since 2005, including Chicago.

"This law will save lives," said Gov. Rod Blagojevich as he signed the legislation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, surrounded by medical professionals, cancer survivors and anti-smoking advocates. "The realities are that smoking kills people. ... My only regret is that this took so long."

The ban requires Chicagoans to snuff their cigarettes in taverns six months earlier than would have been required under the city's 2006 no-smoking ordinance, which phased in a barroom ban.

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