Illinois colleges to be smoke-free indoors and out

CHICAGO – Smoking will be banned indoors and out on all Illinois public college and university campuses starting next summer under legislation signed Sunday by Gov. Pat Quinn.

Quinn said the measure, which takes effect July 1, 2015, applies to all state-supported schools and will protect students' health and help nonsmokers avoid unwanted smoke "on the campuses they call home."

Smoking still will be permitted inside privately owned vehicles and during some activities protected by the federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

Health officials praised the law, saying it could help reduce smoking rates.

"Smoke-free campuses make it more difficult for students and staff to smoke, thereby decreasing the number of people who smoke, and reducing the number of people who start," said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.

The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan and state Rep. Ann Williams of Chicago, both Democrats.

Several Illinois colleges already have adopted smoke-free policies, including the University of Illinois at its Champaign-Urbana and Chicago campuses.

Quinn also signed a bill requiring that e-cigarettes be displayed the same as regular cigarettes. They must be sold from behind a counter, in an age-restricted area or in a sealed case. Another law that takes effect Jan. 1 prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to people under age 18.