Illinois Smoking Ban, five years later - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Illinois Smoking Ban, five years later

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Up until five years ago, patrons could smoke in some public places in Illinois. But then, Illinois voters passed the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, and showed smokers the door.

On January 1, 2008, businesses posted signs, and ashtrays faded from view.

"They're in the basement," said Rob Parsons, owner of Kutters Bar & Grill, speaking of the ashtrays. "I call it the cellar...I don't even know why they're still there, but we still have them."

And Parsons is pleased with the results.

"I think it's made it better," he said.  "I think...people that don't smoke enjoy that they can come into a place, not have to worry about it being full of smoke."

But not everyone agrees.

"People need to make choices, and then they need to accept the choices they make," said Paul Prigge, a non-smoker. "When the government starts to make choices for people...there's a fine line there."

The smoking ban is becoming a trend across the United States. The American Non-Smokers Rights Foundation says all but a handful of states have passed some type of smoke-free law, and cities are following suit.

Officials say the number of smokers in Illinois dropped four percent in just two years.  In any case, Parsons has not thrown out those old ashtrays.

"We still have them," he said.  "I guess for outside, maybe. During the summer we smoke outside."

The Department of Public Health is launching the "Thanks" campaign, to encourage continued support for the Smoke-Free Illinois Act.

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