Five years of smoke-free businesses in Illinois

Five years of smoke-free businesses in IllinoisAlthough the smoking ban has helped many Illinois businesses, some complaints about the law still remain.

The Smoke-Free Illinois Act went into effect five years ago and complaints have mostly diminished over the years. Along with the complaints, the tobacco stench that hung over so many restaurants and bars all over the state is also disappearing.

The owner of Ulrich’s Rebellion Room, 631 Main St., Peoria said, “It’s a lot cleaner,” as he planned for his New Year’s Eve party.

About his employees, Ulrich added, “Their clothes don’t smell nearly as bad as they used to after working a shift. They don’t have that cigarette smell around all the time.”

The state law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2008, prohibits smoking in and around most public places and places of employment.

Prior to the law being put into effect, many restaurant and bar owners were afraid that it would have negative effects on their businesses. Five years later, it appears that the law, in fact, did affect businesses, but in unexpected ways.

Janine Cook, owner of Hoops Pub & Pizza, 516 Main St., Peoria said, “I think originally people were upset about it, but they’ve adjusted. People coming in for lunch and dinner appreciate not having to deal with smoke.”

Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Illinois, recently conducted news conferences in Chicago and Springfield to commemorate the law’s enactment anniversary.

“We know there have been reductions in hospital admissions and stays because of Smoke-Free Illinois. We know there’s been a significant drop in smoking prevalence rates and youth smoking prevalence rates,” shared Drea.

Some people however are still not so keen on the law. An Illinois Senate bill that clarifies beer-garden smoking seems to be in General Assembly limbo.

Cook said, “I think business owners should be able to choose to allow smoking, as well as patrons if they don’t want to come into a smoking establishment. This is just the government deciding for you.”

Drea suggested that if that were the case, the government seems to have decided correctly. “The majority of calls I get now are from people who have traveled out of state to areas not having smoke-free laws. They said it was like walking back into time and how backward it seemed,” she added.

If you are a business owner who has a problem with this law as many seem to, contact the Gierach Law Firm in Naperville, IL to discuss your options to fight for your rights as a business owner. The experienced business attorneys can help you get the freedom that you deserve in your business.