This time, campus smoking ban clears Illinois Senate

SPRINGFIELD — Given a second chance, a bill to prohibit smoking on all public university campuses in Illinois was approved by the Illinois Senate.

Last week, the measure, SB 2202, fell five votes short of passing the Senate, and it was placed on "postponed consideration."

But supporters prevailed on Wednesday, 30-22. Among the five new "yes" votes was Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, who had voted no last week but switched Wednesday.

All other area senators, however, either voted no or did not vote. That includes Republicans Sen. Chapin Rose of Mahomet, Dale Righter of Mattoon and Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Not voting was Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington.

The bill now heads to the House.

As proposed, it would ban smoking anywhere on campus, including farm fields, construction sites, open spaces and parking lots.

Opponents have argued that a statewide ban is unnecessary and that individual campuses can enact their own bans. The University of Illinois' Urbana campus is doing so, implementing a smoking prohibition that will go into efect next January.

“I don’t think this is something we need to do legislatively,” Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, said last week during debate. “I certainly think if the individual campuses want to do this, they have a right and the ability to do it. I think we’re sort of overreaching here.”


But the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, said public universities told him “we really don’t want to do it on our own because we will get slapped.”

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Cantiloper wrote on May 05, 2013 at 8:05 pm

The Senator says that public universities told him they were "afraid of getting slapped" if they banned smoking on their own?

Would he like to cite specifics on who told him that?  And perhaps explain who they were afraid of "getting slapped" by?  After all, they usually claim that "the vast majority of students and faculty" support throwing the smokers off campus at all hours of the day and night to hang out on neighbors' porches and sidewalks to smoke, so who will be "slapping" them?

Or is the Senator just making it all up, the way Antismokers' make up most of the stuff they claim in justifying their bans?  There is no sound reason for  open air campus bans. Even if you fully accept the figures promoted by the EPA Report as true, the levels and durations of ordinary student on-campus exposure would predict just one extra lung cancer for every 25 million to 250 million student-years of exposure. That's probably less than a hundredth of the deaths that would be predicted from those students' years of sun exposure on those campuses, but we don't enact laws forbidding daytime classes, do we?

And actually, there's not even any sound reason for prohibiting a few comfortable indoor areas where smokers and their friends could gather to relax or study together. As long as decent exhaust ventilation was provided even ASHRAE allows for such areas.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"