Citing the toxicity of secondhand smoke, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 500, the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, into law on July 23. The law takes effect Jan. 1 and requires employers to provide smoke-free workplaces for all employees.
In remarks at the bill signing, Gov. Blagojevich noted a 2006 Surgeon General’s report showing that workers exposed to secondhand smoke are 20% to 30% more likely to develop cancer than workers in smoke-free environments. Bill supporters claim the new law will save more lives than seat belts and decrease lung cancer rates by 20%—and all tobacco-related deaths by 10%.
The new state law does not mean employers can ignore local anti-smoking ordinances. Municipalities may still enact smoking bans that are tougher than state law, but all Illinois jurisdictions must meet the new state standards when the law takes effect.
With a few narrowly tailored exceptions, the law bans smoking in all “p...(register to read more)