Tobacco

Illinois to Ban E-Cigarette Use Inside Public Spaces

Bill amends 2008 Smoke-Free Illinois Act
No vaping or smoking sign
Photograph: Shutterstock

Use of electronic cigarettes will be banned in indoor public spaces in Illinois following a measure signed Friday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The bill, HB 1540, adds electronic smoking devices to the 2008 Smoke-Free Illinois Act, which banned smoking combustible products, like cigarettes, in most public places in the state. The amendment will take effect Jan. 1.

“Illinoisans deserve to enjoy public spaces without being exposed unwillingly to secondhand vapor and other electronic cigarettes byproducts,” Pritzker said. “Now, e-cigarettes and vapes will qualify under existing anti-smoking laws, reducing air pollution and making a more accessible, healthy Illinois.”

E-cigarettes, like their combustible counterparts, contain nicotine, flavors and other aerosolized components that can lead to lung damage over time, the governor said. Secondhand vapor can transmit the same negative side effects to passers-by, he said, and vulnerable populations such as those with asthma, transplant recipients or anyone with reduced lung capacity can be particularly susceptible to the side effects of secondhand smoke.

The American Lung Association and the Respiratory Health Association advise against e-cigarette use, particularly for young people. Chicago and e-cigarette maker Juul Labs reached at $23.8 million settlement in March over a lawsuit claiming Juul engaged in harmful and deceptive business practices by marketing and selling vaping products to underage users.

In September 2020, the Chicago City Council voted to ban the sale of flavored vaping products.

“A tobacco epidemic continues in our state,” said State Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “We have made great progress, but the surge of use of e-cigarettes has threatened that progress and lured more people toward a deadly addiction. I am proud to have passed a measure to ban the use of e-cigarettes indoors, and I thank the Respiratory Health Association, American Lung Association and Governor Pritzker for their advocacy.”

The bill had bipartisan support, the Chicago Tribune reported. The act bans smoking in public spaces including “a portion of any building or vehicle used by and open to the public,” the newspaper reported, but there are exceptions, including for the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, during meetings of tobacco manufacturers and suppliers.

According to the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, a person who violates the act can be fined between $100 and $250. A person who owns or operates a public place or place of employment who violates the act can be fined from $250 to $2,500 for violations.

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