SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law to reduce the risk of second-hand smoke and smoking-related fires by banning smoking in dormitories at all public and private colleges and universities in the state.
“When parents send their kids off to college, they want them to be safe. Cigarettes are one of the leading causes of dorm fires and this law could help prevent future tragedies,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, smoking is the third leading cause of fires in U.S. college dorms. In addition, college students who live in smoke-free dorms are 40 percent less likely to begin smoking than students who live in unrestricted housing, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Senate Bill 2465, sponsored by Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) and Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago) amends the Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act. Effective immediately, the bill prohibits smoking in public and private college and university dorms. It applies to dining facilities, laundry rooms, lobbies, hallways, and other areas. Only commercial facilities such as coffeeshops and restaurants are exempt from the law. Aside from dorms, it also includes sorority and fraternity houses that are owned and operated by a university.
"Cigarette smoking poses a significant health and safety risk for everyone on campus," Sen. Cullerton said. "Simple separation of smokers and non-smokers within the same airspace is not enough. It's important that all students have the opportunity to live in a healthy, smoke-free environment."
Last year the Governor signed a bill that allows home-rule municipalities to prohibit smoking in public places. Illinois joins several others states that have banned smoking in college dorms, including Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Connecticut.