Proposed smoking ban for Illinois public universities passes Hou - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Proposed smoking ban for Illinois public universities passes House

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Smoking could soon be completely banned on Illinois state-supported college and university property under a new proposal approved by the House of Representatives Wednesday.

By a 67-44 vote, the House approved the bill and sent it to the Senate for its consideration. An earlier version of Senate Bill 2202 was approved in the Senate by the bare minimum number of votes needed for passage.

Lighting up between classes at John Wood Community College could soon be a thing of the past.

That's because a new bill, the "Smoke Free Campus Act," aims to do away with smoking in offices and dorms at public colleges and universities. The ban applies to the entire campus. Designated smoking areas would not be allowed.

It's an inconvenience JWCC students like Jenifer Rardon say they don't want to deal with.
   
"I would have to drive off campus to go smoke. Sometimes smoking does help calm down my nerves," Rardon said.
   
The proposal however would allow you to smoke in a parked car on campus. But even some non-smoking students say the bill might be going too far.
   
"They have the right to be smoking, and they need to have the opportunity to smoke. I think if they would consider having the designated areas like John Wood has, that would be a good idea, but not to ban it completely," Martin Nall said.

However, John Wood Community College Chief of Police Bill LaTour says the ban could be a good thing.

"The point of the act, is obviously smoking is not healthy. It's something we want to encourage our students not to do," LaTour said.

He says a statewide policy banning smoking on campuses would eliminate confusion about where smoking is and is not allowed. LaTour adds it would cut back on litter.
   
But more importantly, it would keep students and staff away from second-hand smoke.
    
"I think it's the right step. It would take some time and a lot of getting used to for the smokers we do have here, but I think over time it would be for the best," LaTour said.

The only exceptions are for laboratories on campuses engaged in smoking research.

The bill heads to the Senate where support appears to be split.   
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