Secondhand Smoke and Smoke-Free Policies
What is the Smoke-Free Illinois Act?
The Smoke-Free Illinois Act (410 ILCS 82; Public Act 095-0017) is a comprehensive anti-smoking law that took effect in Illinois on January 1, 2008 and bans smoking in most buildings and vehicles used by the general public, used as a place of employment, or owned by the government or other public body.
All indoor public places and workplaces must be smoke-free, including 15 feet from doors, windows and vents. This includes private clubs, public transportation, government vehicles, and common ares of multi-unit housing. There are some exemptions for tobacco retailers, hotels, and long-term care facilities. For more details, see our handout: Smoke-Free Illinois FAQ for businesses
Reporting a violation of the Smoke-Free Illinois Act
To report a violation, call 866-973-4646 or go to Smoke-Free Illinois. According to the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, indoor public places and workplaces must be smoke-free, including 15 feet from doors, windows, and vents. This includes private clubs, public transportation, government vehicles, and common areas of multi-unit housing. There are some exemptions for tobacco retailers, hotels, and long-term care facilities. For details, see our handout: Smoke-Free Illinois FAQ
What can I do about secondhand smoke at home?
Are you a resident of a multi-unit housing property? Are you concerned about exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS)? There are steps you can take. If you are comfortable, a good first step is to make your neighbor aware of SHS and your concerns for those in your home. You can also tell your landlord or property owner about your concerns and ask if a non-smoking policy is possible in your building.
If you would like support, fill out the Lake County Secondhand Smoke Exposure Notification Form. You can also call the Secondhand Smoke Notification Hotline at (847) 377-8822 and someone will return your call within 72 hours. We will contact you and property management to share the benefits of smoke-free housing policies.
Each year, an estimated 28 million multi-unit housing residents are exposed to SHS in their homes from elsewhere in their building. Since individual units are not public spaces, they are not covered by the Smoke-Free Illinois Act. While common areas are required to be smoke-free, a specific policy must be created to prohibit smoking in individual units, balconies, or patios. Smoke-free policies lessen exposure to SHS, improve health, and even reduce smoking rates. Smoke-free housing can also save money on turnover costs and reduce the risk of property damage and fire. Some communities have local ordinances prohibiting smoking in all multi-unit housing.
In the United States, about 58 million non-smokers are exposed to SHS. Those who live in multi-unit housing can be exposed to SHS even if smoking is not allowed. SHS can travel from one apartment to another through electrical outlets, plumbing, cracks in the walls, and ventilation. According to the Surgeon General, there are no safe levels of SHS exposure. Adults and children are at risk of disease and early death. Children at risk of ear problems, asthma attacks, and increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Adults are at increased risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke.