Ten years Later: Illinois smoking ban part of everyday life

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Ten years after the indoor smoking ban was enacted in Illinois, it has become part of everyday life.

The statewide ban went into effect on Jan. 1, 2008, The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported. It was criticized by some local bar owners and pushed by public health advocates.

In 2006, Springfield, Illinois enacted its own ordinance that banned indoor smoking. Bruce Strom, then a member of the Springfield City Council, worked to present the ordinance to the council with the help of the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association.

“I was actually the spearhead in Springfield for it at the time,” Strom said.

Strom said that, according to data, far more people were non-smokers and many of them supported an indoor ban. But he said the problem was rallying them toward it.

After some back-and-forth with the council, Strom’s version of the ordinance was thrown out due to amendments. Then-mayor Tim Davlin introduced a similar measure that was approved.

According to the United Health Foundation, smoking dropped in the state from about 20 percent of adults to 15 percent between 2008 and 2017. Only two years, 2009 and 2012, showed an increase.

Todd Maisch is the president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. He said his organization was fervently opposed to the measure because it banned a legal product.

“The proponents of smoking bans were very smart in that they got individual communities to enact smoking bans and then (they) became advocates for a statewide ban,” said Maisch. “They recognized that their restaurants and bars were at a competitive disadvantage to other communities that didn’t have a smoking ban.”

But supporters of smoking bans contended that there would be massive health benefits.

“Tobacco companies were hiding health information on the health effects from smoke, whether it was tobacco or non-smoking tobacco,” Strom said. “They were hiding things that had an impact on people’s health.”



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