Illinois pushes for cleaner air near college campuses

Illinois pushes for cleaner air near college campuses

The days of smoking inside buildings are gone from most American cities. That led many people to huddle outside buildings to smoke—even in the cold. It also caused people who walked into those buildings past the smokers to endure second-hand smoke.

While hospitals took the lead years ago in restricting the distance a person could smoke outside a building, other institutions lagged behind. But the reality of a smoke-free environment on all Illinois state college and university campuses has almost reached its final hurdle.

The Illinois House of Representatives passed the Smoke Free Campus Act, which bans smoking in offices, dorms and outdoor areas at colleges and universities.Sponsored by Democratic Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan and Democratic state Rep. Ann Williams of Chicago, the proposed legislation would include campuses such as Western Illinois, Northern Illinois, Illinois State and Eastern Illinois universities along with community colleges that receive state money. People could still chew tobacco, smoke while driving or use e-cigarettes (a battery-powered device that simulates tobacco smoking by producing a vapor that resembles smoke) on campus because they don’t emit any smoke.

The bill heads to the Illinois Senate next. The 2014 Surgeon General’s report found that almost half a million lives are unnecessarily lost each year due to tobacco, as well as up to $333 billion in health care costs and lost productivity. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health that first linked smoking to lung cancer and other diseases for the first time.

“Even though it has gotten better, I have seen mothers and children come to my office  with symptoms of second-hand smoke because members of their families smoked around them,” says Dr. Mohammad Al-Massalkhi, a pulmonologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “It is still a very critical issue that people need to take seriously.”

For the past five years, various health groups have pushed for cleaner air around college campus buildings. The ills of second-hand smoke have already been well-documented. Proponents see this new measure as a means to hopefully deter smokers before they even reach a college campus.

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  1. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to walk to class or walk into my dorm when people would be smoking right at the door – yuck! So happy about this news!

  2. Ernst Lamothe Jr June 26, 2014 at 9:54 am · Reply

    The same thing used to happen to me Sarah and then my clothes would smell like smoke from walking into and out of class.

  3. my campus (University of Illinois) just went smoke free on campus! Its been great to walk to class and not have to walk past clouds of smoke!

  4. Lynn Hutley

    This is wonderful! Nothing like the wall of smoke you hit going to and from class!

  5. As a college student, this is such a relief to hear. It’s definitely the worst when I’m walking to class behind a big cloud of smoke!

  6. It is disturbing to see support for this unnecessary and misguided legislation. Ah. . to be young, dumb and naive. And I know that feeling. I was once there. I better watch what I write because Advocate LOVES to remove posts that are not incurrence with their articles. Not matter how pointless or misleading.

    These clouds of smoke everyone is complaining about is the result of previous legislation. In my college days you smoked in the entire building. Imagine that; but when people get pushed around what you see is the effect. So is it every better to push the smokers to the property line? Actually, as a state taxpayer, I say smokers can stay where they are. Walk around them. You all got the indoors smoke-free. Fortunately, you don’t get to control outside. Besides, consider the outrageous taxes we pay as a fee.

    A bit of advice for the five kids who think this legislation is so grand. Be careful for what you wish for and who you entrust to make decisions on your behalf. Freedoms, rights and liberties are slowly being eroded. Especially in Illinois and by these so-called progressive politicians. There will come a time you will be affected by something some legislator does not like. I guarantee it.

    Incrementalism is the gradual ban and restriction of something over and over until it is made so difficult nobody cares to do it. This is not the purpose of government. You are young and don’t yet have the life experience to recall relevant examples and their effects. Perhaps what I learned in my college days (Loyola) is different than the state school system; but critical thinking is clearly absent here. Even the article’s use of quotations that really don’t support the topic at hand is suspect. Can you say out of context?

    Ernst, to say that walking through a pack of smokers causes your clothes to smell is a lie at worst, exaggeration at best.

    Last, be watchful of this legislator, Terry Link. He is a shill for the health charities and, oddly enough, the biggest supporter of gambling in the state of Illinois. If you really “care” about people, especially the young, poor, minorities and vulnerable ask yourself why a man who has a problem with someone smoking in a privately-owned business has absolutely no problem encouraging people of the least means to gamble their wages away which, amongst other consequences, leads to enriching the coffers of the state, the casino industry and his lobbyist friends.

  7. I’m not sure if it’s hyperbole or ignorance, but for learned college students or graduates not to at least have the slightest understanding of the idea of uniformed dispersion is…well it’s just frustrating. Clouds of smoke?!?! The smoke dissipates from an exhale in a few seconds! Unless someone is blowing smoke directly into your face multiple times in quick succession then your view of actual reality is distorted. Do you ever walk down the street on a sidewalk? Talk about poison, car exhaust is magnitudes higher in lethality and you seem to be walking to class ok. In terms of immediate danger, we should be passing legislation to make sure no combustion engine is pumping out its deadly fumes within 100 ft of where people live and work. I mean think of the children! I hear we send 6-7 year olds on giant smug producing busses that pump out thousands of cubic ft of deadly poison a day. And don’t get me started on the kids who walk to school…having to tolerate 50, 60, or a 100 cars spiting gases and particulates into their faces to and from a place of learning…it’s just sick as a society we allow this to continue, but hey, we need to drive everyday so screw it! And if anyone here is thinking about saying, “We put exhaust filters on cars to limit those things and to make it safer…” I would like you to do a thought experiment. In your minds, put yourself in a locked ill-ventilated room with 50 smokers. Is it stuffy? Yes. Will you smell? Yes. Is there scotch there? Probably, so sit in a chair have a glass and wait an hour until some lets you out. Now, same room, but instead of smokers, its 1 car. You think you are making it out in an hour? It’s a way better exercise of our democracy and social principles to spend thousands of dollars and hours of our elected officials time to make sure people whom we don’t enjoy the smell of are moved from 15 feet away to 100 feet away. FREEEEEEEDOOOooooM!

  8. My hat off to Jefferson and Anon! Well said!!!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.