Smoking Ban on College Campuses Gets Initial OK
By The Associated Press, with addtional reporting from Illinois Public Radio
A Senate committee has approved legislation to ban smoking on all state-supported colleges and universities.
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports the measure passed the higher education committee 7-5. It now moves to the full Senate.
The bill would ban smoking anywhere on a public university or community college campus effective July 1, 2014.
Kathy Drea is a spokeswoman for the American Lung Association in Illinois. She says the ban would promote a healthy learning environment for students, visitors and employees.
Shanna Harrison is a graduate student at the University of Illinois' Urbana campus. As a student senator, she helped create a non-binding referendum to start discussions on a possible smoking ban.
Nearly seven of every 10 students who voted approved the measure.
"When two-thirds of a voting population asks you to have a discussion about a smoke-free campus, we can't ignore their call," Harrison said.
The U of I eventually approved a smoking ban, which will go into effect this November.
Senator Link, a Democrat from Waukegan, was also sponsor of the state law passed five years ago that bans smoking in bars and restaurants.
He said this smoke-free issue also requires statewide attention.
"A lot of people could have done it on their own, but turned to us and asked for uniformity."
Opponents say that infringes on universities' rights to make their own decisions.