Committee Approves State University Smoking Ban
Lighting up on campus may soon no longer be an option at state-run colleges. A committee of lawmakers today approved a smoking ban for Illinois' nine public universities.
This is an extension of the state's smoking ban, which already applies to public buildings. The bill moving forward at the statehouse bars students, staff, and visitors from smoking anywhere on campus. It applies to the state's public universities, including the U of I, UIS, SIU, and EIU. It also includes public community colleges.
If lawmakers give it the green light, the ban will take effect next year.
State Sen. Terry Link said the goal is to stop people before they decide to light up for the first time.
"This is where we're seeing a lot of people starting to smoke, is at that younger age, and you're on a college campus," Link said. "Hopefully, if we'll make this smoke-free environment, that will lessen the opportunity for them to start smoking."
The current statewide smoking ban took effect five years ago. It covers public buildings. It also requires smokers to light up at least 15 feet from an entrance.
The proposal now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
A representative from EIU spoke up during today's committee hearing. She said the school would like to make the decision about smoking on campus on its own.
Story by NewsChannel20.
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