Smoke Free Illinois
Smoke Free Illinois

Smoke Free Illinois

Smoke Free Illinois Act

The Smoke-Free Illinois Act (Act) went into effect January 1, 2008, making Illinois one of 22 states with similar smoking laws. The Act prohibits smoking in the following areas: Public places, Places of employment, Within 15 feet of any entrance, window, or ventilation intake in a public place or place of employment.

The Quitline helps people who want to quit smoking but may not be able to attend a regular smoking cessation class. Specially trained registered nurses and respiratory therapists are available to counsel callers. Funding for tobacco use prevention and smoking cessation programs is made possible by funds received from the Illinois Department of Public Health.


Outdoor Smoking Areas

Employers do not have to provide an outdoor shelter for employees and can restrict smoking in additional areas. Smoking areas for customers of restaurants and bars need to follow the rules regarding proximity to the entrances. Employees are not to work in these smoking areas. The smoking areas must be non-enclosed. For example, smoking areas could be open on all sides if there is a roof or could have sidewalls if there is no roof. Whatever style of non-enclosed area, the area must be non-enclosed all year round.

No Smoking Signs

The Act states “No Smoking” signs are to be placed conspicuously at each entrance of the building. The signs must comply with the specifications listed in the Act. Signs in compliance with the Act can be found on the Smoke-Free Illinois web site at At the discretion of the owner, operator, manager or other person in control of the building, “No Smoking” signs can be placed in restrooms, break rooms and other areas.


All ashtrays must be removed from areas where smoking is prohibited. Sometimes other containers such as empty soda and beer cans are tempting to use as ash trays but this is not allowed.


Businesses found in violation of the Act are subject to fines – $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation, and $2,500 minimum fine for all subsequent violations within one year of the first violation. An individual can be fined not less than $100 and not more than $250 for a violation.

More information on the Act can be found on the Smoke-Free Illinois website,

Smoke Free Homes and Cars

Secondhand smoke places infants and children at greater risk for a number of serious health problems. The lungs of children and infants exposed to secondhand smoke do not develop properly and this affects how the lungs work. The infants and children are then more vulnerable to upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, severe asthma, and pneumonia. Ear infections are more frequent in these infants and children. Tobacco smoke is toxic to the nerves and can impair learning abilities and behavior. Exposure to secondhand smoke is life threatening to infants. Infants exposed to secondhand smoke are at higher risk of death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS.

To protect infants and children from secondhand smoke, parents who smoke should make it a rule to not smoke in the house or in the car. Children should not be allowed to follow parents out to smoking areas. Visitors and other family members should be asked to follow the home and car rules about smoking as well.

The best thing a parent can do is to stop smoking. Quitting smoking is not easy but will protect the health of your most valuable possession, your child. For more information about quitting smoking call the Illinois Tobacco Quitline at 1-866-QUIT-YES (1-866-784-3937).

Useful Links

American Heart Association

American Lung Association

American Cancer Society

Quit Smoking Community

Centers for Disease Control

National Cancer Institute