Smoke-Free Statewide Press Heightens as Effective Date Looms
Deadline looms for state smoking ban
The Jan. 1 deadline for a statewide ban will confront them with a cold reality
By Megan Twohey
Tribune staff reporter
December 4, 2007
Melissa Castillo wore an urgent expression as she sat in Gamekeepers Tavern pulling drags off her Marlboro Light.
For months, she was able to ignore the impending statewide ban on smoking in all indoor workplaces. Now, less than 30 days before the new law was to take effect, there was no avoiding it. "I'm quitting," said Castillo, during a stop Sunday at the Lincoln Park bar. "There's no way I'm going to smoke outside. Not when it's a bazillion degrees below freezing."
The smoking landscape in Illinois will change dramatically on Jan. 1, when all bars, restaurants and sports stadiums must become entirely smoke free.
Some Chicago-area smokers are gearing up for battle, buying gloves and hats so they can at least try to stay warm while they smoke outdoors. Nothing, they say, will get in the way of their lighting up. But others are seizing the chance to kick the habit.
The Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago and other organizations that help with smoking cessation have received an increasing number of calls from people planning to try to quit. Officials say the imminent ban is a factor.
"There are always people who decide to quit on New Year's, and the ban provides much more of an impetus," said Joel Africk, the association's president. "It's the golden opportunity."
There is not yet proof that such bans have a direct effect on adult smoking rates, but the rates have dropped significantly in places where the bans were combined with high cigarette taxes and anti-tobacco advertising, said Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University, who has done extensive research on the subject.
In New York City, for example, the smoking rate has declined 20 percent since a comprehensive campaign began in 2002, according to the city's health department.
California, which passed a ban in two stages, in 1995 and 1998, saw its smoking rate drop from 17.5 percent in 1998 to 13.3 percent in 2006, according to the state's health department.
The combined cigarette tax for Chicago, Cook County and Illinois -- $3.66 a pack -- is the highest in the nation, Africk said. The American Cancer Society and some local health departments are targeting more anti-tobacco advertising at the 20 percent of Illinois residents who smoke.
"We're working very hard to get the anti-smoking message out there," said Roger Quick of the Illinois chapter of the American Cancer Society, who lobbied for the law, arguing that it would save lives and reduce health problems.
Smoking and secondhand-smoke inhalation have been linked to cancer, heart disease and asthma attacks, among other ailments.
An estimated 2,900 Illinois residents die each year of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke, according to supporters of the law.
When the law takes effect, Illinois will become the 22nd state to prohibit smoking in nearly all indoor workplaces. Notable exceptions are tobacco stores, hookah lounges that don't serve alcohol, certain private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes, long-term-care facilities and in hotels.
The new law supersedes Chicago's smoking ban, which gave bars and restaurants until July 1, to comply.
Smokers must make the transition during the coldest month of the year. That has provided a greater sense of urgency to some of those who plan to quit.
Chris Lee, a bartender at Gamekeepers and self-proclaimed social smoker, said the only time he lights up is in a bar. Stepping into the frigid weather to feed his habit has no appeal.
"This gives me a chance to quit," Lee said.
Athens Beasley, who was relaxing at Mother Hubbard's in River North, said she never smokes during the day or at home. But every time she steps in a bar, she gets the urge.
Like Lee, she had come to think January "would be a good time" to try to snuff out the habit. But not everyone is feeling inspired.
"If you gotta smoke in negative 10 degrees, you gotta do what you gotta do," said Charles Ramirez, who was perched at the bar at Jimbo's on the South Side, a Miller Lite in one hand, a Marlboro menthol in the other.
The cigarette machine recently had been removed from Jimbo's in preparation for the smoking ban, but that hadn't stopped him.
Corey Keilin, a patron of Gamekeepers, said he had given much thought to the major reform looming on the horizon. His plan:
"I'm going to buy more warm gloves and hats," he said as he took a drag off a Camel Light.
But Aaron Lipman, a friend sitting to Keilin's right, leaned over and said, "You could also quit, Corey."
Keilin shook his head. He wasn't ready.
Like many non-smokers, Lipman hates inhaling smoke in bars and restaurants. He was eager for Jan. 1 to arrive.
"I'm not counting down," he said, "but I'm looking forward to seeing Corey standing out in the cold."
Our Opinion: Health wins out over smoking
Sunday, December 02, 2007
IT'S PROBABLY not often enough that Springfield is this far ahead of the curve, but indeed that is the position we find ourselves when it comes to smoking bans. In fact, our humble city is the poster child for smoking bans as the state of Illinois prepares to roll out the statewide ban on Jan. 1.
We suspect this could be one of the smokiest New Year's Eves ever in bars where smoking is still allowed. But in Springfield it will just be another blissful night of clean air. A year ago September, a smoking ban went into effect for Springfield and unincorporated areas of Sangamon County.
During the months of debate over the ban, few topics elicited as much comment. Our Opinion pages were filled with letters arguing for and against the ban. Angry bar owners showed up at city hall to fight the ban. Health advocates showed up too, pointing out the hazards of secondhand smoke and the fact that many other cities, counties and even states had instituted smoking bans without disastrous financial results.
IN THE END, health won out both in Springfield and, as of New Year's Day, in Illinois. Many people have probably put the ban out of their minds up to this point. Some do not even know the new law is about to take place. But they soon will.
The brouhaha over the smoking ban has definitely died down in Springfield. And even though the new statewide smoking ban is less than a month away, the noisy debates and complaining of the past are nowhere to be found. Chances are things will get a bit noisier over the next month.
A media blitz will occur over the next few weeks to remind people that come Jan. 1 they will no longer be able to light up in just about any public place, including restaurants and bars. As this campaign picks up, so will all the old arguments and complaints we've already heard.
One of the most persistent arguments is that a smoking ban in public places is bad for business - especially for bars and restaurants. Predictions of businesses failing due to the Springfield ban were certainly common prior to its passage.
The American Cancer Society and other groups lobbying for the smoking bans have long pointed to studies showing that smoking bans are not the death of business. "More than 20 independent studies show smoke-free laws have a neutral or positive impact on the hospitality industry," says an American Cancer Society fact sheet.
And now the Cancer Society has Springfield to point to as well. A year after the local ban went into effect, SJ-R reporter Chris Wetterich compiled a report demonstrating that Springfield's tax revenue from bars and restaurants has grown vigorously. In the two quarters after the ban was enacted, city tax revenue from restaurants grew twice as fast as before the ban.
FACTS, HOWEVER, can't always counter emotions - and the smoking ban is a very emotional issue. Yet if Springfield is any indication, the emotional arguing will fade fairly quickly as people adapt to the new law.
While we will never convince some smokers, the law certainly will prove worthwhile. There is a reason Illinois is joined by 22 other states in banning smoking in public places. Secondhand smoke kills people - in many cases people who wisely chose not to smoke themselves. The Cancer Society says for every eight smokers who die from tobacco use, one nonsmoker dies from exposure to secondhand smoke. That works out to 2,900 deaths annually in Illinois and 65,000 nationwide.
That, above all else, is why on Jan. 1 you will no longer be able to pollute the indoor air with tobacco smoke.
KTVI-TV, St. Louis
Text: Illinois Smoking Ban Starts January 1st
Last Edited: Monday, 03 Dec 2007, 10:45 PM CST
Created: Monday, 03 Dec 2007, 10:45 PM CST
By: Sean Conroy
(KTVI - myFOXstl.com) --
A smoking ban takes effect across the state of Illinois on January 1st. Now, thirty second PSA's are roaming the Metro's airwaves. They show bar owners collecting ashtrays and people using them as tip jars, hockey pucks, and Christmas decorations. Over the air, the commercials roll as a reminder that cleaner air is headed to every public place in Illinois.
"What we have found in other states with the implementation of smoke free laws is it takes a lot of education," says oncologist and American Cancer Society Metro East President Dr. James Piephoff. “Becasue a lot of the general public just isn't aware of it."
But bar owners certainly are aware.
"It's like d-day for a lot of us."
Ray Morales is one of many Illinois tavern owners expecting that the New Year will be far from prosperous.
"A lot of people are really sweating," says the Vice President of the Madison County Tavern Owners Association. “They are really worried about what is going to happen to their business.”
The 30 second spots and billboards are not only to remind people that Illinois will be smoke free in public places but also to educate all on the health threat second hand smoke can pose. The law is to protect employees from second hand smoke. That argument is especially maddening for Marilyn Maul because she says every one of her employees at Porky's in Wood River is a smoker.
"In my case they can't go out and serve on the patio because of the smoke," argues Maul, "but they can go out there and join them five minutes after the fact with their cigarette."
While some cigarette machines can stay, matches and ashtrays must go. But Morales with the Tavern Owners Association says keep them in storage. Bar owners across the metro east hope ashtrays won't collect much dust because the fight isn't over.
"It's definitely not over." says Morales. "Its something that we will continue to fight and hopefully government will see that local areas are affected by it local revenues are down."
The only thing Dr. Piephoff hopes and expects to see go down: the number of patients he has treat.
"I'd love to be out of a job and not have to treat people for cancer."
Quad Cities Online
Businesses prepare for Illinois smoking ban to take effect
By Jonathan Turner, email@example.com
At 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, the height of New Year's Eve revelry, Illinois' new public smoking ban will take effect.
The Land of Lincoln will join 25 other states that already prohibit indoor smoking in every workplace, including bars and restaurants. Iowa does not have such a public smoking ban.
Jan. 1 is a "historic milestone in the cancer fight in Illinois," said Dr. Clement Rose, president of the American Cancer Society (ACS), Illinois Division. "By reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, we will reduce cancer diagnoses and deaths. The American Cancer Society is proud to have led the charge for a smoke-free Illinois."
The ACS, and other public-health groups, will host a series of public information sessions throughout the state on what businesses and individuals must do to comply with the smoking ban.
A statewide advertising campaign has started to build public awareness. It consists of lighthearted ads on television, radio and billboards through January, reminding viewers that the law is coming while suggesting creative new uses for all the soon-to-be unnecessary ashtrays.
As for the New Year's enforcement, Rock Island police chief John Wright favors a "grace period," to allow businesses time to deal with the law. He said Moline is planning a grace period of a month before enforcing the ban.
"We will start enforcement by complaint only," Chief Wright said. "It's the responsibility of business owners to police themselves."
Individuals and businesses found in violation of the law will face fines of $100 to $2,500.
According to the law, smoking will be allowed in:
-- Private homes, except when used as a child care, adult day care, health-care facility or any other home-based business open to the public.
-- Retail tobacco stores that derive more than 80 percent of their gross revenue from tobacco-related products and accessories.
-- Private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes and long-term care facilities occupied by smokers, who have asked to be in a room where smoking is permitted.
-- Hotel rooms rented to guests and designated as smoking rooms, provided that the smoking rooms are contiguous and smoke from the rooms must not infiltrate non-smoking areas. Not more than 25 percent of rooms in a hotel may be designated as smoking.
Bars and restaurants upset with the potential loss of smoking customers can take solace in the fact that outdoor patios can offer an on-site alternative for smokers.
According to Illinois Department of Public Health draft rules, which aren't expected to be approved until Dec. 11, these smoking-permitted areas must:
-- Be at least 15 feet from building entrances, exits, windows and ventilation intakes.
-- Be contiguous with the workplace or public place and controlled by the proprietor.
-- Have at least one side that consists of open space, permeable material, or a combination thereof.
-- Have no overhead covering if it consists of four non-permeable walls, or a covering consisting of permeable material and/or open space.
The outdoor patio option is one reason David O'Keefe is building a partially open, heated gazebo next to his sports pub, O'Keefe's, at 1331 5th Ave., Moline.
There is an existing deck next to the 1,000-square-foot bar, but it would not meet the "15-foot-rule" for outdoor smokers, he said recently.
"They're punishing all the bars because restaurants never made real non-smoking sections," Mr. O'Keefe said of the new law. "People don't want to smell smoke when they eat."
The statewide ban should have followed the lead of Chicago's similar ban (which was to take effect July 1, 2008), he said. That granted an exception to businesses that had 65 percent or more of total sales in alcohol.
Several areas in Illinois, including Springfield and DuPage counties, also have had smoking bans.
While many Illinois Q-C bars are worried about losing business to the Iowa side, Mr. O'Keefe doesn't think he will lose regular customers.
"What we've seen in other communities, other states is, other folks came out (to smoke-free businesses) that maybe didn't come out in the past because they didn't enjoy a smokey environment," said Rick Baker, head of the Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce.
"I think we can look for opportunities that Illinois is smoke-free, to capitalize on those opportunities," he said.
"More and more restaurants already have adopted the smoke-free environment," Mr. Baker said. "There's always times when you have to get used to change. Some businesses are concerned how it will impact them."
"We've got mixed emotions about it," said Ron Wicks, president of Rock Island Boatworks, which operates Casino Rock Island. Casinos in the state lobbied to be exempt from the ban.
"A bigger part of the public just doesn't want to be in a smoking environment," Mr. Wicks said. The number of smokers at Casino Rock Island has been "going down dramatically," and is now about 20 percent of patrons, he said.
Because the casino is building a new $150 million complex, Mr. Wicks and his team are planning a patio for smokers at the new site, which is scheduled to open in early 2009 at the intersection of I-280 and Illinois 92.
"It's a change in behavior people will have to go through," said Alan Carmen, a Rock Island city employee working with city and business leaders on the transition.
Studies have found that at first most bars and restaurants saw a drop in business with a ban, but "they found in the longer term, it comes back and comes back strong," Mr. Carmen said.
For more information
On Jan. 1, the state of Illinois will have a toll-free number, (866) 973-4646, and Web site, www.smoke-free.illinois.gov, for more information or to make a complaint about smoking violations.
The Web site will include downloadable signs for businesses. The law requires signs posted at every entrance, not only with the international "No Smoking" symbol, but with the state phone number and Web site address. All ashtrays must be removed by Jan. 1.
The American Cancer Society campaign will include educational sessions for business owners, dissemination of educational materials, and partnerships with local health departments and law enforcement officials.
The ACS and Rock Island County Health Department will make a presentation on Smoke-Free Illinois at the Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19.
For more information on the state law, visit the ACS Web site at www.smokefreeillinois.net.
http://www.week.com/news/local/11987381.html...Meanwhile, Smokefree Preparations Continue.
Story Published: Nov 30, 2007 at 9:55 PM CST
By WEEK Producer
Illinois is just one month away from the statewide smoking ban.
The Peoria City/County Health Administrator says the Illinois Department of Health has yet to finalize the guidelines for the ban...including whether doorways to beer gardens are considered "entrances" where smoking is not allowed within 15 feet.
In the meantime, there will be a local focus on education.
The Peoria Health Department and the American Cancer Society are joining forces to raise awareness about the Smoke Free Illinois Act.
The plan is to talk to area leaders and business owners about their responsibilities as well as enforcement and penalties.
"We're trying to get everybody used to the fact that when this does happen January first, people will be more informed when the go into restaurants and public places," Peoria City-County Health Administrator Andrea Parker.
The American Cancer Association will present its Smoke Free Illinois education campaign before the Peoria City Council in about two weeks.